Page 227 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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lodgment of returns and other administrative functions. This bill repeals the FID Act because it is now totally redundant.

The intergovernmental agreement also states that debit tax will cease to apply from 1 July 2005, subject to review by the ministerial council. At a meeting of the Ministerial Council for Commonwealth-State Financial Relations on 26 July 2004, it was agreed that all states and territories would abolish bank account debits tax by 1 July 2005.

Due to a number of transitional issues, the Debits Tax Act will not be repealed from 1 July 2006; instead, its effect will be limited after 1 July 2005 to imposing tax liability for debits made before that date. The last month for which debits tax is payable would be June 2005, and there is no requirement for financial institutions to lodge returns for any period after June 2005.

Both of these acts would remain tax laws under the Taxation Administrative Act 1999, which would continue to apply to all liabilities incurred prior to 1 July 2005, even if the liability is discovered after that date. This includes assessment or reassessment; imposition of penalty tax and interest; powers of investigation; record keeping requirements; offences; refunds; and objection and appeal rights. Since the abolition of both FID and debits tax has been accounted for in the budget process, there are no financial implications as a result of this bill. I commend the Revenue Legislation Repeal Bill 2004 to the Assembly.

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

Optometrists Legislation Amendment Bill 2004

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.13): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am delighted to introduce a bill today which addresses an important health issue for many in our community and which at the same time supports health professionals in making quality care more readily available. The Optometrists Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 seeks to amend the Optometrists Act 1956 and other related legislation, to allow optometrists in the ACT to prescribe a limited range of medicines for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Under current ACT laws, optometrists are not able to prescribe medicines or to use medicines for their patients. A person who has an eye condition requiring professional assistance must seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist. This means that patients who need these medicines for diagnosis or treatment are limited in terms of the types of practitioners to whom they can go. In contrast, in New South Wales and other

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