No free tax-ride for Facebook, Google despite invite: MP
FORMER barrister turned Federal MP Andrew Wallace says he remains committed to making big business pay taxes, despite inviting Google and Facebook to the region for small business workshops.
Mr Wallace said he invited the tech online giants to the region as part of his mission to support and promote the 20,000 small and family businesses in his electorate.
"The reality is that for many businesses in 2019 effective use of digital and social media platforms can make all the difference to their success," he said.
"I did not, however, provide any funding or any significant logistical support in putting on this Facebook Community Boost event, other than to suggest some possible appropriate venues capable of dealing with the expected demand."
In 2018 Facebook earnt more than half a billion dollars from Australians for services, but paid only $11.8 million in tax.
It was also forced to pay more than $31 million after an ATO audit of its records, and is facing potential fines worth tens of billions of dollars in the US over the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach.
Mr Wallace said he was committed, as the government was, to "ensuring that all large corporations pay their fair share of tax in the jurisdiction where the income is earned".
He said $679 million had been invested into the ATO to establish a tax avoidance taskforce, and more than a dozen measures had been implemented "to ensure multinationals and large corporates pay their fair share of tax".
He said he would vote for planned Treasury law amendments this week focused on multinationals paying tax.
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Mr Wallace said he accepted there was a need for reform to protect consumers, improve transparency and ensure the significant market power of social media companies wasn't used to lessen competition in media and advertising markets.
An ACCC report released on Friday pushed for the Federal Government to take action to rein in Facebook and Google's market dominance, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said consumers need better protection.
Mr Wallace said a 12-week public consultation process had been started, to help inform the Government's "detailed policy response to this ACCC report".
"I have also had discussions with social media platforms and international IT companies such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Microsoft and others over the past 18 months about their social licence, to ensure that they are putting appropriate safeguards in place to protect the most vulnerable within our community from the ravages of child exploitation and content that promotes self-harm and suicide," he said.
"I will continue to do so and I will continue to lobby the Government to take appropriate action when those companies do not act in the community's best interests."