Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he is “ropeable” about the PwC tax scandal and that the names of those involved will be made public “in time”.
Mr Chalmer said Australians were “filthy” about the firm “monetising government secrets” by using confidential tax information to benefit its clients.
He said the federal government “would go further if needed” to make legislative changes after already increasing the powers of the Tax Practitioners Board.
“I personally, the government and I think the country is absolutely filthy about what has happened with PwC and we want to be able to consult in good faith with business community,” he told ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday night.
“People shouldn’t monetise that for their own gain and that’s what’s happened here.
“That’s why people are understandably and justifiably angry. We have been responding in a decisive and methodical way across a number of fronts.”
He added: “We have said if more needs to be done we will consider doing more.
“We can’t have a repeat of this absolutely appalling episode where people were monetising government secrets, when governments in good faith were trying to consult with corporate Australia.”
Earlier on Wednesday it emerged that material relating to the PwC tax advice scandal could be counted in the thousands of documents.
Tax Practitioners Board chief executive Michael O’Neill told a Senate estimates hearing there might be thousands of documents relating to the confidentiality breach case that went beyond publicly released emails.
The documents spanned communications from the tax board, Australian Taxation Office and PwC, he said.
The consultancy firm has been under fire following revelations a former partner shared confidential tax information from Treasury in order to help clients sidestep a crackdown on multinationals’ tax avoidance.
Mr O’Neill said the Tax Practitioners Board was working on a detailed list of names involved in the scandal based on the documents.
But he said the task was complicated by the fact that not all the people whose names appeared in the documents knew anything about the leaked government information.
The board confirmed it had no plan to suspend PwC, despite the revelations.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe earlier confirmed the central bank had recruited the troubled consulting giant to assist it in correcting staff underpayments.
He told a parliamentary committee the central bank had discovered it was incorrectly paying entitlements when employees left the institution.
Dr Lowe said the bank was in the process of fixing the underpayments with the help of PwC, which it contracted late last year.
The appointment predated when the confidentiality breach scandal involving PwC first came to light, in January 2023.
The consultancy firm has been under fire following revelations staff shared confidential tax information from Treasury in order to help clients circumvent a crackdown on multinationals’ tax avoidance.
The Australian Federal Police is investigating the leak.
Dr Lowe said he was appalled by the revelations.
“The use of private information of this sort for commercial gains is wrong,” he said.
“It destroys trust … it’s unacceptable.
“It should come with very serious consequences for those who did the wrong thing.”
The governor said the bank had one ongoing agreement with PwC for audit and risk management services.
“We’re continuing to use them for that purpose and because the cost of having to change isn’t worth the benefit we would get from that,” he said.
Dr Lowe confirmed the bank would not take out new contracts with the firm until it produced a satisfactory response to the revelations.
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