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Tax Reform Implementation To Boost E-Commerce

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Senator the Hon Richard Alston Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts The Hon Peter Reith MP Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business

Senator the Hon Rod Kemp Assistant Treasurer

11 July 1999

Tax Reform Implementation To Boost E-Commerce And Services To Small Business

The Government will ensure that services to small business and e-commerce opportunities are boosted as part of tax reform implementation.

'The government is committed to getting all appropriate government services online by 2001', the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said.

'It is also important that Australia maximises its take up of e-commerce between businesses to boost our trading position and economic efficiency. The tax reform implementation provides a major opportunity to advance in these areas.'

The Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, Mr Peter Reith, said that the government is committed to driving down compliance costs for business, particularly small business, and this could be done through the delivery of government services to businesses online.

'Services such as the Business Entry Point will be enhanced as part of the tax reform implementation to ensure businesses have access to greater online transactions. This could mean that a business could change its details or provide information once and this could be used through a range of Commonwealth and State agencies, saving the business time and money,' Mr Reith said.

'Over the next few months Commonwealth agencies will be working to identify services that can best help business in going online with government.'

The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Rod Kemp, indicated that as part of implementation of the GST and other tax measures, the Australian Business Number would be made available to all Australian businesses. This number would be held on the Australian Business Register, which would be publicly accessible.

'An online certification certificate which authenticates the online identity of each business would be linked to the Australian Business Number,' Senator Kemp said.

Senator Alston said widespread use of the certificate would solve a major block to the uptake of e-commerce and online service delivery by government.

'The government's objective is that this certificate will provide high integrity online authentication, able to be used by business in dealing with all Commonwealth agencies, and also with other businesses,' Senator Alston said.

The government has taken a number of specific decisions to reinforce the security of online e-commerce.

'Commonwealth government agencies which wish to issue online authentication certificates to businesses and individuals must do this within the government's Gatekeeper framework to ensure they meet appropriate high standards of security and integrity,' Senator Alston said.

'Similarly, all government agencies must normally use the Australian Business Number, the Register and related certificate when identifying businesses.'

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