Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2077 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
still allows the minister to issue further guidelines, so the minister still has some flexibility in determining who gets the exemption.
In drafting legislation, there is always the problem of working out how much detail to put in and how much to leave to subordinate instruments. In this case, though, I think the government may have erred too much on the side of not putting enough detail in and leaving open the possibility that the details of the exemption provision will escape sufficient Assembly scrutiny.
I would be concerned if this duty exemption ended up being given to groups that did not deserve it. I think Ms Dundas' intentions are honourable, and I am prepared to support her amendment.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (6.25): While I appreciate the sentiments espoused by Ms Dundas and Ms Tucker, I am not going to support the amendment. When guidelines are produced, they will be retrospective. We will make sure that they are done properly. I advise the Assembly that under administrative arrangements there have already been three waivers. The process is already happening. We just want to put the framework in place.
Might I comment on the amendment put forward by Ms Dundas. The proposed definition restricts eligibility to charitable organisations and not-for-profit sporting organisations. Charitable organisations are already exempt from duty on all general insurance under section 201F of the Duties Act 1999. If these guidelines are adopted, they would exclude non-sporting community-based social and recreational organisations-for example, ethnic cultural clubs, music and choral groups, arts and crafts groups, seniors groups and horticultural groups. That points up that if you try to be too prescriptive in an act in the pursuit of accountability you may do more harm than good.
The 20 per cent rule may exclude clubs that derive their revenues from fundraising activities such as raffles, stalls, sausage sizzles, trash and treasure markets, or whatever. So again there is the possibility of excluding people rather than including people.
The term "not-for-profit" is difficult to define and, as such, may have an unintended prescriptive consequence. In fact, the proposed definition does not preclude distribution of assets to members on dissolution. The government's guidelines will utilise the Australian Taxation Office's administrative arrangements for "not-for-profit". We will provide consistency with the Australian Taxation Office.
The amendment seeks to insert a new section entitled "Exemptions from duty of insurance for eligible organisations". The exemptions in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that proposed new section are included in the Duties Act already, and paragraph (c) is outside the intended exemption of this bill. We have been talking about difficulty with public liability insurance. Exemptions for organisations beyond charitable organisations with insurance may well be an appropriate and desirable thing, and possibly legislation should be brought forward to do that. But it is a different agenda from that for which this bill was intended. I admire the generosity associated with this extension of the bill, but it is