from left, Paul Koenig (EAAG), Jason Collins (EABC), HE Ambassador Helena Drnovsek Zorko, HC Anthony Toamzin, HVC Mark Stariha
Double Taxation meeting with European Australian Business Council (EABC) and European Australian Advisory Group (EAAG).
Summary by Honorary Vice Consul Mark Stariha
Venue: EABC chambers Phillip St Sydney
Attendees: Paul Koenig (Partner EAAG), Jason Collins (CEO EABC), Tim Goulain (Director Policy and Networks EABC), HE Ambassador Helena Drnovsek Zorko, Honorary Consul Anthony Tomazin, Honorary Vice Consul Mark Stariha
Jana Grilc, First secretary of the Embassy of Slovenia Australia organised a meeting with the EABC and EAAG on 2 March 2017 to discuss matters related to the promotion of a double taxation agreement between Australia and Slovenia and the progress of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the EU.
HE Helena Drnovsek Zorko presented views of the issues caused by double taxation for Slovenian companies conducting business in Australia, Australians seeking to do more business in Slovenia, and the priority of the Slovenian government to seek a solution to the double taxation via a double taxation agreement between Australia and Slovenia.
Discussions centred around the lack of progress and seeking solutions on the best way to proceed. It was noted that Jana Grilc raised the issue of double taxation with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2015 when PM Turnbull was the then Information Minister. After repeated lobbying Jana Grilc received a letter from the Embassy in June 2015 from Josh Frydberg stating that this issue was not a current priority for the Australian government. Further lobbying to date has not been able to have a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) moved up in priority, although it is on the agenda.
Both Paul Koenig and Jason Collins understood and supported the desire for Slovenia to finalise a DTA, and both have agreed to assist where possible. Various discussions ensued on how to prioritise this within the Australian government and its agencies/departments, including seeking a high profile person to promote prioritization of the DTA.
Other discussions included seeking suggestions for Slovenian companies owed money by Australian companies after invoices have been left unpaid. The consensus was that there was little that could be done and the resolution available to Slovenian companies centred around legal action.