Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3861 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I refer members to that committee report. Clearly, the Government has a different view, which has been put, but it is important to get on the record that this matter was raised in the committee by the majority of members of that committee.
MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (4.00): We are opposed to the amendment. I want to throw the question back to other members of the Assembly. I have looked at the report that Ms Tucker has just referred to, which argues at length about the inclusion of the Ambulance Service in the legislation. There is comment by the committee about whether it is appropriate to have the Ambulance Service integrated into the legislation. There is also argument about whether it is appropriate to have national competition policy provisions in the emergency management legislation.
I will repeat that to make sure I got it right, Mr Speaker. There is an argument about whether the Ambulance Service should integrate into the emergency management legislation and about whether competition policy principles should be built into the legislation for the potential outsourcing of services in the future. In the body of the report there is very little discussion about the ambulance levy. I have only skimmed through this in the last few minutes to refresh my memory, but I cannot see any reference at all - perhaps someone can find it for me - - -
Mr Hargreaves: Page 17, paragraph 66.
MR HUMPHRIES: Paragraph 66 states:
... the committee was of a view that there was no logic in including information about the ambulance levy ... in general emergency services legislation. The concerns raised about the lack of detail of regulatory arrangements covering the contestability of ambulance services provide further justification for not ...
There is only one sentence there about the ambulance levy. Mr Hargreaves made a comment about the Opposition reserving its views about the levy. Let me remind Mr Hargreaves that the levy is not the levy on insurance we were talking about a couple of years ago. This is the ambulance levy. It has been in place for a number of years. I think it may have been put in place by the former Labor Government, but I cannot be certain about that. Anyway, it has been a longstanding levy supported by both sides of the chamber. As far as I can tell, it is a very appropriate levy to be charging in the ACT.
We have one line of argument in the report of the committee saying that we should not have the levy in this legislation. They say that they do not believe it is logical, but they give no explanation of why it is not logical. Mr Hargreaves and Ms Tucker, apart from citing the committee report, have not indicated any reason why it is not logical to have it in the legislation.
What is the objection to having it in the legislation? First of all, it is a cross-reference, in effect, to other legislation, so that one can see how the legislation is constructed to pick up provisions in the Taxation Administration Act 1987 that also allow for the collection