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Annual Report 2000 2001
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1991 - 2001

Key outcomes and developments

1992

Superannuation Guarantee Charge introduced.

 

One and two-cent coins withdrawn from currency; plastic notes introduced.

1994

For the first time, the Budget is released before the financial year to which it relates.

1995

National competition policy introduced.

1996

Charter of Budget Honesty announced.

1997

Reform of Australia’s tax system announced.

 

Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP) announced.

 

Final Report of Financial System Inquiry released.

 

Staff negotiate first Certified Agreement.

1998

Review of Business Taxation reports.

 

First pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook issued.

 

Review of Treasury core and corporate support business.

1999

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Australian Office of Financial Management and Axiss Australia established.

 

Consumer Affairs responsibility transferred from Industry, Science and Tourism to Treasury.

 

First accrual-based Budget.

2000

New tax system and GST introduced.

 

Tony Cole

Anthony (Tony) Stuart Cole, thirteenth Secretary to the Treasury (1991–1993). Cole graduated and joined Treasury in 1968. From 1979 he spent two years as Australia’s alternate Executive Director at the World Bank. In 1983 he became principal private secretary to Treasurer Keating. He was later appointed Chairman of the Industries Assistance Commission. In 1993 he was transferred from Secretary to the Treasury to lead another department. He left the Public Service in 1994.


The 1990s productivity boom

With the exception of the recession at the start of the decade, the Australian economy grew at an average annual rate of over 4 per cent in the 1990s — on a scale not been seen since the 1960s, and despite the Asian financial and economic crisis later in the decade. In marked contrast with earlier periods, this strong growth coincided with subdued inflationary pressures. Inflation averaged around 2 per cent between 1993 and 1999, and unemployment declined steadily. Declining interest rates and increasing real wages also contributed to improve overall economic living standards.

Promoting savings

A key focus of economic policy over the late 1990s was the promotion of national savings, with a particular focus on returning the Budget to a surplus and retaining this surplus. Treasury was also heavily involved in earlier efforts to enhance private saving, particularly superannuation savings, with the introduction of compulsory employer superannuation contributions for employees.

Continued structural reform

The 1990s saw a continuation of a wide range of structural reforms, aimed at improving the efficiency of the economy. These reforms typically sought to reduce unnecessary regulation and increase competition, thereby improving the range and quality of goods and services available to consumers as well as, in many cases, lowering costs for both producers and consumers.

Taxation Reform

The second half of the decade saw Treasury heavily involved in major tax reform culminating in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) replacing the wholesales sales tax regime, and a number of State and Territory taxes.

Reform of Commonwealth–State relations

Under an intergovernmental agreement the Commonwealth agreed to appropriate all GST revenue to the States and Territories. These revenues replaced the financial assistance grants previously made by the Commonwealth to State and Territory governments, as well as a number of excise and sales taxes which the Commonwealth had collected on behalf of the States and Territories.

New responsibilities

In 1993–94, the responsibilities of the three deputy secretaries were re-aligned and each became responsible for one of three newly defined areas: fiscal, economic, and financial and structural. A major organisational change took place in 1998–99 as Treasury moved from a program-based structure to an output-based structure, reporting on outputs and outcomes, in line with the APS accrual budgeting reforms. This led to the formation of three defined groups: Budget, Economic and Markets. A number of new agencies joined the portfolio.

Human resources

Personnel matters in Treasury for most of the century were covered by the Public Service Act and by directives from the Public Service Board. Reforms such as encouraging women in Treasury required slow cultural changes. The driving force behind many changes were the service-wide equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies initiated in the mid-eighties. In Treasury the main thrust of EEO was towards women.

Ted Evans

Ted Evans, fourteenth Secretary to the Treasury (1993–2001). Evans joined Treasury in 1969, on graduating from university, after ten years as a PMG technician. From 1976 to 1979 he was a member of the Australian permanent delegation to the OECD in Paris. In 1984 he was appointed Deputy Secretary and was heavily involved in taxation and microeconomic reform. He represented Australia on the Board of the IMF from 1989 to 1993. He retired in 2001.

Ken Henry

Ken Henry, fifteenth Secretary to the Treasury (2001–). Ken Henry was born in Taree. He taught overseas before accepting a position in Treasury in 1984. From September 1986 to June 1991, Dr Henry worked as a senior adviser to the Treasurer. In July 1992 he headed the Australian Delegation to the OECD in Paris. Dr Henry returned to the Treasury in January 1994 and became Secretary on 26 April 2001.

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