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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3341..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The amendment is necessary to provide certainty to employers of first-time employees such as apprentices and trainees and to protect the revenue base in cases where the interpretation of legislation may be ambiguous due to change in definitions. As payroll tax is self-assessed, it is important that there be no doubt and that the provisions be easily understood by the taxpayer. In many cases the definitions of the classes of employment and the training schemes are regularly changed, and this can create doubt as to whether employers are excluding the correct classes from their payroll returns.

The amendment removes from the act the definition of "apprentice" and all references to particular training schemes. They are replaced by the concepts of a "new starter" in an occupation or industry and "eligible training" for work in the industry or occupation. Eligible training must be approved by the minister, by disallowable instrument, to accommodate any future changes in the training schemes available to first-time employees.

The effective date for these amendments will be 1 October 2001. This is to allow for an orderly introduction of the new provisions, as payroll tax is calculated on a monthly basis, commencing on the first day of each calendar month.

Mr Speaker, without these amendments, Treasury has estimated that there is a potential for revenue leakage of approximately $5 million per annum, but this figure could be higher due to the potential for tax avoidance. The impact on the revenue base far exceeds the policy intent of the government when making the exemption provisions under the act.

If this bill does not proceed through the Assembly, the ACT revenue base is at risk. I will therefore be requesting this matter be debated during this week's sittings, specifically on Thursday of this week. I seek the indulgence of members to facilitate that. I have indicated to members that I am happy to provide briefings from the Department of Treasury on the effect of this legislation and the harm it is meant to remedy. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Postponement of orders of the day

Ordered that the order of the day No 2, Executive business, be postponed to a later hour.

Ordered that orders of the day Nos 3 and 4, Executive business, be postponed to the next sitting.

Defamation Bill 1999

Debate resumed from 23 August 2001, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Osborne ) adjourned to a later hour.

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