Reference to the Committee

1.1 On 25 November 1998, the Senate established a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on a New Tax System, to inquire into the Government's proposals for taxation reform. The Senate also referred specific matters relating to the tax reform proposals to three references committees. The broad effects of the Government's proposals on the environment, the arts and information technology, and the provisions of the relevant bills, were referred to the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 March 1999.

Conduct of the Inquiry

1.2 The inquiries were advertised nationally on 2 December 1998, with a nominated closing date for submissions of 29 January 1999. The Committee wrote to the Department of the Environment and Heritage and the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, seeking written submissions. The Committee also wrote to a number of organisations. At the time of this report's completion approximately 1,500 submissions had been received in relation to the inquiries of the Select Committee and the three references committees. All submissions were processed by the Select Committee and forwarded to the references committees. A full list of submissions received will be included in the final report of the Select Committee.

1.3 The Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee held hearings in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane in February-March 1999. A list of witnesses who gave evidence to the Committee, and the dates on which they were heard, is set out in Appendix 1.


1.4 The Committee wishes to thank all those who contributed to the inquiry by preparing written submissions, by giving oral evidence, by providing additional information and material where requested or by assisting with arrangements for public hearings.