The Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) has just published a new Working Paper called The Henry Review of Australia's Future Tax System: The Implications for Local Government.


Prepared by John Passant and John McLaren of the University of Canberra, the research closely examines a range of issues canvassed by the Australia's Future Tax System Review of 2010 (the ‘Henry Review’) that relate to local government, and concludes that it would be unwise for local government to plan for nothing more than minimal change.


The release of the paper is timely as there will be opportunities for local government in light of the federal government’s Tax Forum planned for October 2011.


“As a response to the Henry review, the paper makes suggestions for future action to be undertaken by local government and highlights opportunities for the sector to influence the debate about the future shape of the Australian taxation and tax transfer system” said Professor and ACELG Director, Graham Sansom.


Some of the key issues examined include:


•           The need for councils to have sufficient autonomy in setting rates

•           Integration of rates and land tax

•           The distribution of financial assistance grants

•           The potential for expanded road user charges

•           The problem facing Australians in relation to housing affordability

•           The cost of providing aged care in a country with an ageing population

•           The longer term financial capacity of the states

•           The application of economic rent.


The review comes as the Federal Government has pledged to form an Expert Panel to advise on how to proceed with ensuring that Local Government is formally recognized in the Australian Constitution.


 The paper is available from the ACELG website: