Federal treasurer Scott Morrison will be Australia’s new prime minister, marking the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. Minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, will be his deputy.
This follows days of turmoil in Canberra which has seen a key ministers to Treasury portfolio, assistant minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar, resign.
Representative bodies for accountants are concerned for the state of tax law and reform in the wake of this leadership crisis. This is compounded by a Senate which is ineffective at passing tax reform, including the government’s signature policy on corporate tax cuts.
The Institute of Public Accountants wants the new-look cabinet to “fix policy paralysis” for tax and workplace reform.
“The new leader will not be able to fix lack of bipartisan support for major big ticket reforms, so we might be heading towards the same piecemeal approach with death by a thousand cuts, but we remain hopeful,” general manager of technical policy, Tony Greco, told Accountants Daily.
Similarly, CPA Australia wants to see regulatory and legislative issues which directly impact accountants taken off the backburner and out of the stalemate environment.
“The government needs to review the ASIC funding model to ensure the new charges fairly reflect the cost of administration of each of the elements,” head of policy at CPA Australia, Paul Drum, told Accountants Daily.
“It also needs to ensure FASEA is appropriately resourced to enable it to appropriately review prior learning undertaken by members of the accounting profession; modify the CGT rules as they relate to expat Australians and the main residence exemption; and modify the small business CGT concessions to ensure no retrospectivity in application,” he said.
Mid-tier firms like BDO believe clients, particularly those running a business, are crying out for certainty and stability from the new government.
Unenacted measures are particularly detrimental to business planning and strategy, because of uncertainty around start dates of legislation that is in the pipeline.
“Any new government should immediately undertake a stocktake of the regulatory and taxation announcements made that have not yet been translated to legislation or opened for consultation. These should be advanced as a matter of priority or, if they are no longer to be pursued, this should be announced promptly,” BDO tax partner, Mark Molesworth, told Accountants Daily.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand also called for reforms which are sensible and competitive for Australian businesses.
“Chartered Accountants are looking for consistent leadership and stability in our federal government to produce sensible policy reforms that make the country more competitive, more inclusive so that we all pull together from the farm gate to the boardrooms to collectively create a brighter future for all Australians,” Simon Grant, group executive for advocacy and international, CA ANZ told Accountants Daily.
More to come.