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BUSINESS FRANCHISE (TOBACCO AND PETROLEUM PRODUCTS)(AMENDMENT) BILL 1995
Debate resumed from 22 August 1995, on motion by Mrs Carnell:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.54): Mr Speaker, the Opposition will not be opposing this Bill, which the Government has put up as an anti-avoidance measure. The anti-avoidance measure, we understand, has become necessary because of the current practice of some tobacco discounters to provide what they term as free tobacco and also to attempt to make that free tobacco free of tax. I fully support the Government's activity in ensuring that the revenue base is maintained by taking the measures that are provided for within this Bill. For that reason, we support the regulatory framework that exists to ensure that business franchises make appropriate contributions to the Territory's economy. The Bill, as we understand it, has arisen because of particular circumstances. I think that it is an appropriate response to those circumstances.
MR MOORE (11.55): Mr Speaker, we have had this Bill for a relatively short time. I indicated to the Treasurer that we are very comfortable with the anti-avoidance measure associated with tobacco. I would like the Chief Minister to explain the need for the diesel fuel exemption certificate, as identified in clause 12, in terms of anti-avoidance measures. It was quite clear about the tobacco sales, but it was not so clear exactly how this situation happens with the exemption of dieseline. In principle, Mr Speaker, I am quite happy to support the Bill, because I think it is important for us to work as a group in the Assembly to ensure that any tax avoidance schemes are brought to a stop as quickly as possible. The principle is that when somebody is not paying tax the rest of the community wind up having to pay more tax. Whenever there is an exemption, it has to be looked at particularly carefully. I know that the Leader of the Opposition, as Chief Minister, often put that perspective, both in private argument and in the Assembly. I think it is a very good principle for us to keep in mind.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.57), in reply: Mr Moore, was it clause 12 with regard to the TPI pensioners that you were asking about?
Mr Moore: Yes, in terms of diesel fuel.
MRS CARNELL: It was brought to the attention of the Government that, under the current situation, TPI pensioners could not get a diesel fuel exemption certificate although I think they were always meant to be included. The Bill adds TPI pensioners to normal pensioners. This Bill applies to petrol products as well as tobacco because the business franchise approach that we take is the same for both. The potential problem could exist with either, so they were lumped together. It was nothing more nor less than that. We have no indications that the problem occurring with tobacco products is occurring with petrol products.