Page 5860 - Week 18 - Wednesday, 11 December 1991

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MR COLLAERY (10.31): Mr Speaker, I present the Payroll Tax (Amendment) Bill 1991. I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this Bill seeks to overcome and clarify some anomalies which have arisen from an amendment to the Payroll Tax Act passed by this Assembly in October 1989.

Briefly, the first Follett Government presented a Bill to amend the Payroll Tax Act on 28 September 1989. The Bill was brought back before the house less than a month later, on 25 October 1989, and the relevant Hansard reveals that the Rally and the Liberal Party questioned then the adequacy of consultation prior to passage of the amendment. Accordingly, the Rally moved that the debate be adjourned because the Rally, as the Hansard shows, was awaiting advice about unintended effects of the proposed sections, then 3B and 5A. I refer members to the relevant Hansard for 1989, at page 2055.

Unfortunately, the Government had the numbers with Mr Duby's support, and the Bill was brought back that day and passed. The former Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Whalan, had strongly argued that the Assembly had a duty to put down avoidance and evasion schemes. The Bill was supported in principle by the Rally. The Liberal Party remained opposing the Bill, and I need to say that for the record.

Subsequent events have shown all too clearly the dangers of introducing complex legislation without proper consultation with those potentially affected. Often those with a detailed knowledge, such as accountants, are able to contribute from another perspective that the Government's own financial advisers do not have.

At this juncture I should like to acknowledge with gratitude the briefing provided by Ernst and Young to all members of the Assembly in relation to the service contract provisions introduced in 1989. With the benefit of that submission and knowing the views of the Housing Industry Association, the master builders group and the Canberra Business Council, the Rally instructed Parliamentary Counsel to draw amendments to overcome the perceived deficiencies in the legislation.

The record shows, Mr Speaker, that the Rally has consistently expressed concern about the effect, particularly on the small subcontractors, of the service contract provisions. We have discussed the matter both in government and out of government and over that time we have had helpful advice from the commissioner, Mr Gordon Faichney. However, we are yet to secure advice as to what element of the annual $85m payroll tax revenue is

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