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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 687 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The Treasury Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 is an omnibus bill. It amends four revenue acts to create an administratively efficient automatic system that eliminates the need for frequent determinations to be made by the minister. This also provides for certainty in legislation. In all cases, a minister has retained the power to make disallowable instruments to cater for the possibility of a breakdown in the automatic process.

Mr Speaker, under the Taxation Administration Act 1999, the existing default process which sets the market rate component of the interest rate does not function, as it refers to a 13-week treasury note that no longer exists. This bill redefines the default process so that the market rate component is directly aligned to the 90-day bank acceptance bill rate, published by the Reserve Bank of Australia, for a particular month. Under the provisions, this rate is automatically updated from 1 January and 1 July each year. This adopts aspects of a replacement benchmark, used by the Australian Taxation Office and the New South Wales government, for the calculation of interest rates on tax defaults and overpayments.

Currently, Mr Speaker, interest rates under the Rates and Land Tax Act 1926 and the Rates and Land Rent (Relief) Act 1970 are determined by the minister every six months. The rates reflect the relevant interest rates made under the Taxation Administration Act. This bill provides for amendments to both of these acts to allow the rate for the market rate component set by the Taxation Administration Act to be automatically adopted as the default interest rate, with or without a fixed premium component as required. These rates are also reviewed each six months. The bill provides for the automatic process and sets all of these interest rates to operate only if there is no ministerial determination in force.

Mr Speaker, under the Payroll Tax Act 1987, the minister approves training which is eligible for a payroll tax exemption by disallowable instrument, which refers to determinations made under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1995 as at a particular date. Each time these determinations are amended, a new approval under the Payroll Tax Act must be made to ensure that all eligible training and vocations are included. Have you got all that?

This bill introduces a process into the Payroll Tax Act provisions to automatically adopt the relevant Vocational Education and Training Act determinations. This change has the retrospective effect from 1 September 2001 of ensuring that any taxpayers entitled to an exemption for a new starter, by virtue of further additions to approved training and prescribed vocations, will not miss out on these entitlements. The minister retains the power to make a determination and may selectively not recognise any training that falls outside the intention of the payroll tax exemption.

Mr Speaker, this opportunity has been taken to make general housekeeping and editorial changes in accordance with the Legislation Act 2001. I commend the Treasury Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 to the Assembly.

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

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