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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1775..


MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, these seem to me to be similar provisions in principle to the provisions that were used in the case of the X-rated video franchise to ensure that the Commissioner of Taxation did not have to refund lots of revenue, thus creating a windfall gain for the taxpayer who had, in the meantime, passed on the cost of the tax burden to individual consumers; that is, the person who is the legal entity taxed by the Government should not derive a windfall gain from the fact that the law was subsequently found to be invalid; they can claim a refund only to the extent that they can demonstrate that that refund has not been passed on to another party or that the tax has been refunded to a party down the line.

Mr Speaker, I think this is appropriate legislation. It is important legislation in the context of continuing litigation about the Government's franchise fees and whether or not they are excises for the purposes of the Constitution. For those reasons, Labor will support the Bill as a measure to protect the revenue of the ACT.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (4.26), in reply: I thank members for their support for this piece of legislation. As members have said, it could easily be a very important piece of legislation, as we have already heard that there are currently a number of High Court cases challenging the validity of business franchise fees. These include petroleum and tobacco taxes; and, if indications are anything to go by, there is certainly some chance that at least one of them will be successful. On that basis, this legislation is absolutely essential to protect the revenue base of the Territory.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

CANBERRA CULTURAL AUTHORITY BILL 1997

Debate resumed from 8 May 1997, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WOOD (4.27): Mr Speaker, debate on this Bill is to be adjourned, and for good reason. This Government that talks about consultation is now belatedly engaged in a level of consultation with the arts community about this Bill.

Mr Humphries: That is not true.

MR WOOD: Would you say that again, Mr Humphries?

Mr Humphries: I said it is not true; we had lots of consultation about this Bill.


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