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Slash and burn tax proposal will harm economy, add to skills shortages and increase 457 visa reliance

Friday, 19 Apr 2013

Sydney, Friday 19 April 2013: The peak professional body for the ICT sector, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), has joined other professional bodies to raise concerns about proposals by Treasurer Wayne Swan to limit tax deductibility to $2,000 for work-related self-education expenses.

“As a percentage of GDP the Digital Economy in Australia is valued the same as mining.  When the resources boom ends what will replace it? Even the government’s own data shows a skills shortage in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and this proposal will discourage professional development in a key area for our economy, ironically encouraging further reliance on 457 visa’s,” said Dr Nick Tate, President of the ACS.

"This proposal does not recognise that ongoing professional education and development is a necessity not only for ICT professionals in today’s market, but for assurance and risk mitigation in an increasingly online world.”

“Women and older workers face real barriers to re-enter the workforce and for ICT this is especially challenging given its rapidly changing and innovative nature. Removing the tax incentives for professional development adds to those barriers rather than removes them.

"The ACS representing over 20000 ICT Professionals - and more broadly the half million strong $100bn ICT sector - strongly encourages the Treasurer to review the proposal with Professions Australia as a matter of urgency," said Dr Tate.

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Media Inquiries
Adam Redman +61 416 800 441 or adam.redman@acs.org.au

About the Australian Computer Society
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The Society exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT to be recognised as a driver of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.