Page 2313 - Week 07 - Thursday, 17 August 2006

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Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 11 May 2006, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.41): Mr Speaker, on behalf of Mr Mulcahy, I begin by thanking the Treasurer for his cooperation and assistance in providing Mr Mulcahy and his staff with briefings on the bill by three staff of the ACT Treasury. I am informed that Mr Mulcahy’s staff found their contributions highly informative and useful.

The amendments proposed in the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill are, as far as the opposition is concerned, fair and reasonable in the context of the changes to the legislative and regulatory landscape which this bill was originally intended to cover. By examining the specific changes that are to be made through this bill, namely, amendments to the Duties Act 1999, the Payroll Tax Act 1987 and the Taxation Administration Act 1999, it becomes apparent that such changes are required, are indeed sensible and do correctly bring the relevant legislation up to date.

The bill makes appropriate changes to the Duties Act to reflect the altered circumstances in which self-managed superannuation trusts have been placed following recent commonwealth legislative amendments. Changes to commonwealth law have opened the potential for anomalies to occur within trusts that are self-managed, particularly with regard to cases in which trustees are removed or changed. Access to concessional duty treatment in these cases was not readily defined in the Duties Act 1999 in its original form and therefore there is a need to update the legislation.

It should also be noted with reference to this component of the bill that retrospective legislation is not required, as existing cases that have been affected by commonwealth changes have been appropriately compensated on an ad hoc basis. This bill marks the first stage in closing the loopholes in this outdated legislation.

The bill also adjusts the Payroll Tax Act 1987 to reflect the changes in business practice since the act’s inception to include the use of electronic funds transfer, EFT, to pay employees. Until now, the act has not expressly recognised the prevalence of EFT usage by businesses in the payment of their employees. Whilst this, in itself, has not caused any legislative difficulties, it should be considered appropriate to reflect such changes to modern business practice in a piece of legislation whose purpose is to cover any and all interpretations of the act. Again, this part of the amendment should be regarded as closing another technical loophole in legislation that occasionally loses relevance as time passes and conventions change.

Finally, the bill amends the Taxation Administration Act 1999 to remove any ambiguity that may currently exist over the release of information collected for taxation purposes. By clarifying the provisions by which such information is to be disclosed, the act serves to fully define what protected information is for tax officers and the public. It should be stressed that in no way does this piece of legislation adversely impact on the capacity of police and law enforcement officials to obtain this type of information as part of their investigations into criminal activities. Instead, its focus is on civil action at the

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