Give the manufacturer a chance – David Barkly

submitted to the Age on January 22nd, 2008

Dear Editor,

Martin Feil and Ernest Rodeck in “The debt penalty: a matter of great import to all Australians” (Opinion, 21/1) express concern at the accumulation of foreign debt, partly due to two decades of buying foreign goods instead of Australian.

It is often said that we cannot compete with Asian countries because of their low wages. That is only a small part of the problem. If one buys an item for $10 in a supermarket, the cost of labour in making it might be less than $1. The remainder goes to handling, marketing, profit taking, etc.

What appears to be the main problem is 55 of the 56 taxes imposed in Australia, most of which directly or indirectly end up increasing cost of production. It penalizes manufacturing. At the same time those who hold land, which only has value because of the community and the infrastructure provided by government, pay very little for the benefit. A realistic community resource charge (or tax ) on land values would allow scrapping most of the 55 taxes. A good start would be payroll tax.

David Barkly

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