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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1301 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, is it reasonable to ask ACT businesses to construct their arrangements, including their payroll tax arrangements, for the coming year if they will not know what their liability for payroll tax will be until 25 June this year, just five or six days before the beginning of the new arrangements?

MR QUINLAN: This is a problem that we have discussed and that does concern us. But at the same time I have to say that what is implicit in Mr Humphries' question is that if you change the arrangements then business can change their structure to minimise their tax-I am presuming that that is what you are driving at. That to some extent is the problem that I mentioned in my answer to the original question.

I do have a concern that if we operate a payroll tax regime that has a threshold higher than elsewhere we will be encouraging the management of payroll tax, in that rather than genuine small businesses being exempt and the larger businesses paying there would be some other arrangement where larger businesses can structure themselves to look like several small businesses.

If the rationale behind a threshold is to assist smaller businesses in comparison to larger businesses then I do not have a deep concern that I am not giving advance notice that could in fact give rise effectively to manipulation to avoid tax. I cannot see any other major concern in this respect. But if there is one, I would be very open to hearing it as soon as possible because we are looking at the process.

Superannuation investments

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. This morning's 2CN program discussed the recent trend in market valuation of share investments. Treasurer, prior to your appointment in November 2001, you did stress the considerable impact of this event on the territory's superannuation investments and its associated impact on the territory's bottom line. For the benefit of the Fifth Assembly, what was the nature of the discussion, and how does it shed light on your earlier comments in recent debates here in the Assembly?

MR QUINLAN: It was exquisite timing on the part of the ABC to have a discussion this morning on returns on superannuation funds and investments with a commentator who seemed, at least in relation to superannuation, to agree with me.

Mr Humphries: At last. What a relief.

MR QUINLAN: And very recently.

Mr Smyth: Did you get his name?

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