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Tax Farming – Bleeding Australia Dry!

By Andrew Klein

It occurred to me the other night how many revenue-raising bodies now exist in Australia. There is a plethora of taxes and levies upon the people that sometimes defies imagination. The other interesting fact being that many of these entities have been sold to private interests, that paid handsome fees in advance for the right to collect such taxes and levies (thus giving governments a temporary yet handy cash flow – often used together with the words of retiring public debt).

These entities have connections with overseas interests and range all the way from private prisons and prisoner transport (imprisonment being the most severe levy any member of the public is liable to) to the operation of tollways and means of communication between people and so much in between. Then there are all those ‘fine’ collecting bodies, private entities but state-sanctioned.

Miss paying your train fare, you don’t get a chance to have a chat with a nice customer service person but meet an enforcement officer. Now given that these Private Public Transport Providers are ‘private’ entities, I asked myself if this was not a case of a civil debt rather than a criminal matter. This is just my own perception and possibly flawed given the extent of current legislation and the crossover between bodies created by legislation or those of a common law history (the Sheriff’s Office) and even the Public Trustees Office that deals with intestate matters and the management of monies deemed to be in the hands of those labelled as unfit to manage their own affairs.

There are so many bodies that ensure compliance with a huge body of law, but few that offer to guide a person through them. Legal Aid is always struggling to meet the needs of those facing charges (innocent until proven otherwise – yet we give a ‘discount’ to those pleading guilty). The language used by those in public office wobbles between the language used to give the impression that there is a persistent state of war and one that mimics the babblings of infants trying to soothe one another under the supervision of a not very pleasant nanny.

Basically, we have created a new social/commercial class in Australia. I would call them ‘Tax Farmers’: entities that have bought to right to impose taxes and levies on the population without offering credible redress or due process to challenge the imposition of such financial burdens. Such Tax Farmers appear to operate in the dark, unknown personally to most of us. On the other hand, the collection agencies work on broad daylight setting up roadblocks to seize cars for unpaid fines and there is a trickle upward effect even from the utility bills that we pay to companies that act as middlemen rather than selling something they have actually created.

When you see the population as a huge ‘Tax and Levy Farm’ forever focused on ensuring compliance and collecting monies for non-compliance there are two serious matters raised. One is the ugly reality that simply living and doing ordinary things, an act of innocent non-compliance creates criminals with records and debts to those entities.

The second is that there must be a huge amount of money generated by this process of tax/levy farming that is never questioned, so where do all these funds go?

How long can any state sustain such a disconnected and openly callous system before it collapses and if it does start to fail because there appears to be a never-ending shortfall of monies available for the public good, what penalties will be imposed on those entities that act as farmers in name but have no idea as to how to look after the health of the flock (the population).

I get the impression that much of the money collected appears to be extortion by a more civilized name, the ubiquitous ‘Non-Compliance Penalty Notices’.


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  1. New England Cocky

    An excellent comment, thank you Andrew Klein.
    After retiring from 50 years of agriculture, I continue to be amazed at the encroaching number of government quangos putting their hands into the farmers wallets.
    Once upon a time it was just the Pastures Protection Board (PPB), to keep weeds under control, provide Stock Travel Permits to monitor stock movements off properties, and restrict intra-regional stock movement between rural zones to control diseases like sheep foot-rot (a wonderful job for somebody else to clean up – if they can bear the smell).
    Then came the restriction on selling only tagged livestock through saleyards followed by an increasing number of paper warfare requirements that created work for unproductive desk jockeys at enormous expense (in the worst government tradition).
    IN regional communities this amounts to four levels of ”government” feral, state, local council (unconstitutional?) & PP Board, each having their fingers in the farmer’s wallets.
    Whatever happened to ”free enterprise”??

  2. paul walter

    This, too, is a very bright piece.

  3. Clakka

    Yes NEC.

    A few questions for you. How’s M&LA going? How’s Flora Green going? How’s our farming regulators going? How’s the FIRB going?
    Who owns and controls our meat, our milk, our fish, our chooks and eggs? Are foreign mega-companies bullying our farmers, or is it the regulators, or are they one in the same?


    No grilling for the buccaneering “Butchers from Brazil”

  4. Truth Teller

    Here is another conundrum for all lateral thinkers out there.

    I no longer live in Victoria (having migrated to South Australia some time ago), but I still have family in Victoria who have been caught up by one of the issuers of the ubiquitous ‘Non-Compliance Penalty Notices’.

    The details are as follows:-
    Quite a few of the “freeways” fall under the relatively new infrastructure name TOLL ROADS. (You would assume FREEways would be free???). It seems that Victorian TOLL ROADS are owned and run by a private corporation for the first 25 years or so of their life. (Transurban perhaps?)

    Anyway, occasionally a Victorian motorist may use a TOLL ROAD and not pay the correct fee to the private corporation. Lo and behold, some weeks, months, or even years later they may receive a fine by mail originating from a Vic Police camera unit that they would have driven past. Often these are set up to monitor number plates for expired registration or licences.

    In summary, we have state funded public servants (Victoria Police) using state owned resources (numberplate recognition equipment & several Officers) to work on behalf of the private corporation that owns the “freeway” to chase motorists who MAY owe money to the private corporation. Think that through.

    NOTE: I am not suggesting anyone should use the private TOLL ROAD without paying. I am just pointing out how even the Police Dept is being used to assist a private corporation to perform large scale Tax Farming on Australian residents.

  5. andyfiftysix

    here in Thailand i have coined a phrase…..Legalised corruption. Australia is not immune.

    I can understand why the medical profession wants to tax out of existance tobacco and alcohol. I can understand why governments are all going in this direction. I can understand why stamp duty on a house is through the roof, governments are addicted to the revenue.

    Understanding is not the same as endorsing. Taxing alcohol and tobacco out of existance is a nonsense. Its so expensive in aus, some of my friends who are smokers have turned to underground supplies. The government has created a new industry…….prohibition really worked well early last century…FUCKING NOT. $50 for a pack of fags even for me a non smoker is rediculous. But the auto cpi increases in taxes will do wonders, i am sure.
    Same as alcohol, why is beer so friggin expensive? Because we are all criminally alcoholic?

    the list of so called easy pickings is a mile long. Australia will always be a backward country and once the mineral boom is over, we will revert to type. In 2023 , why is it we have 6 different police forces who refuse to communicate together. Try doing car transfers and the protocols are messy. Criminals have to be “extradited”. And thats just one small aspect of life in aus.

    Truth teller, dont get me started on road tolls……hahahahaha

    All i can say is, change the system or payup and shut up.

  6. Bertrand K

    Good questions raised in your article Andrew, especially if “Private Public Transport Providers are ‘private’ entities” why is it a “not a case of a civil debt rather than a criminal matter”?
    Might be that the court systems these day run on Admiralty law based on Universal Commercial Code (UCC) and that code has somehow kind of become entangled in the criminal code. Because UCC is such a money-making machine, a machine that seems to tap into some kind of hidden trust system that is not fully disclosed to the general public (Cestui Que trust), it has a life of its own. If you want to understand how it works, perhaps befriend a member of the BAR.
    To the question “huge amount of money generated by this process of tax/levy farming . . where do all these funds go?” Apparently, the under the Cestui Que trust system, all roads lead to Rome.

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