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Economics Legislation Committee - 26/02/2015 - Estimates - TREASURY PORTFOLIO


In Attendance

Senator Cormann, Minister for Finance

Senator Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Senator Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training

Department of Industry


Ms Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary

Ms Sue Weston, Deputy Secretary

Mr Martin Hoffman, Deputy Secretary

Mr John Ryan, Associate Secretary

Anti-Dumping Commission

Mr Dale Seymour, Commissioner, Anti-Dumping Commission

Ms Lisa Hind, General Manager, Operations

Ms Jasmine Riedel, Acting General Manager Policy and Advisory

Australian Astronomical Observatory

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

Mr Ivor Frischknecht, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Ian Kay, Chief Finance Officer

AusIndustry Business Services

Ms Chris Butler, Head of Division

Mr Gene McGlynn, General Manager, Energy Programs Branch

Ms Lisa Peterson, General Manager, Operations Branch

Mr Paul Sexton, General Manager, Customer Services Branch

Mr Mike Sibly, General Manager, Digital Policy and VANguard Branch

Mr Steve Stirling, General Manager, Service Centre and Cooperative Research Centres Branch

Mr Noel Taloni, Manager, Program Design, Best Practice and ERF Project Facilitation, Operations Branch

Mr Graham Tanton, General Manager, Business Online Services and Small Business Programs Branch

Corporate Network

Ms Vanessa Graham, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Bradley Medland, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Matthew Boyley, Chief Information Officer

Ms Margaret Tregurtha, General Counsel

Economic and Analytical Services

Mr Mark Cully, Chief Economist and Head of Division

Mr Wayne Calder, General Manager, Resources and Energy Economics Branch

Energy Division

Ms Margaret Sewell, Head of Division, Energy Division

Mr Gino Grassia, General Manager, Energy Security Branch

Ms Chris Locke, General Manager, Onshore Gas and Governance Branch

Mr Paul Johnson, General Manager, Electricity Branch

Ms Helen Bennett, General Manager, Energy Productivity Branch

Mr David Walker, General Manager, Appliance Energy Efficiency Branch

Energy White Paper Taskforce

Ms Margaret Sewell, Head of Taskforce

AusIndustry Entrepreneur Development

Ms Deborah Anton, Head of Division, AusIndustry Entrepreneur Development

Mr Trent Rawlings, General Manger, Research Connections Branch

Ms Nicola Morris, General Manager, Business Advice Branch

Mr Doron Ben-Meir, Director, Entrepreneur Infrastructure Programme and Commercialisation Advisory

Mr David Wilson, General Manager, RandD Tax Incentive Branch

Mr Andrew Lewis, Manager, RandD Tax Integrity Assurance, RandD Tax Incentive Branch

National Measurement Institute

Dr Peter Fisk, NMI Chief Executive and Chief Metrologist

Office of the Chief Scientist

Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist

Dr Simon Prasad

Portfolio Strategic Policy

Mr Mike Lawson, Head of Division, Portfolio Strategic Policy Division

Mr Paul Trotman, General Manager, Trade and International Branch

Ms Sarah Clough, General Manager, Regulation Reform and Parliamentary Coordination Branch

Ms Louise Talbot, Acting General Manager, Strategic Policy Branch

Ms Lyndall Milward-Bason—Manager, Trade Facilitation


Professor Graham Durant—Director, Questacon the National Science and Technology Centre

Ms Kate Driver—Deputy Director, Operations

Dr Stuart Kohlhagen—Deputy Director, Science and Learning


Mr Bruce Wilson, Head of Division

Ms Katherine Harman, General Manager, Coal and Minerals Productivity Branch

Mr Michael Sheldrick, General Manager, Uranium and R and E International Branch

Mr Demus King, General Manager, Offshore Resources Branch

Science and Commercialisation Policy

Ms Jane Urquhart, Acting Head of Division

Mr Alexander Cooke, Acting General Manager, Science Policy Branch

Ms Lisa Schofield, General Manager, Commercialisation Policy Branch

Sectoral Growth Policy

Mr Peter Chesworth, Head of Division

Cecilia Wood, Acting General Manager, Advanced Manufacturing Policy Branch

Dr Anne Byrne, General Manager Manufacturing and Services Policy Branch

Ms Ann Bray, General Manager, Food, Chemicals and Fibres Policy Branch

Mr Anthony Murfett, General Manager, Productivity, Competitiveness and Growth Centres

Mr Neil Savery, General Manager Australian Building Codes Board

Mr Trent Bourne, Deputy General Manager Australian Building Codes Board

SKA Project

Dr Brian Boyle, SKA Project Director

Mr David Luchetti, General Manager


Australian In stitute of Marine Science

Mr John Gunn, Chief Executive Officer

Mr David Mead, General Manager

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Dr Greg Storr, Group Executive, Nuclear Science and Technology

Commonwealth Scientific and Industri al Research Organisation

Dr Larry Marshall, Chief Executive

Dr Craig Roy, Deputy Chief Executive

Ms Hazel Bennett, Chief Finance Officer

Dr Jack Steele, General Manager, Science Excellence

Geoscience Australia

Dr Chris Pigram, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Clinton Foster, Chief Scientist

Dr James Johnson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Resources Division

Dr Stuart Minchin, Chief of Environmental Division

IP Australia

Ms Fatima Beattie, Acting Director General

Ms Celia Poole, Acting Deputy Director General

Ms Terry Moore, Acting General Manager of the Policy and Governance Group

Mr Doug Pereira, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of the Finance, Quality, Reporting and Property Group

Dr Benjamin Mitra-Kahn, Chief Economist, Office of Chief Economist, Policy and Governance Group

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmenta l Management Authority

Stuart Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Cameron Grebe, General Manager Environment

Department of the Treasury

Mr John Fraser Secretary

Output Group 1.1—Macroeconomic Group/ Corporate Strategy and Services Group

Ms Jennifer Wilkinson, Acting Deputy Secretary—Domestic, Macroeconomic Group

Ms HK Holdaway, Acting Deputy Secretary—International, Macroeconomic Group

Mr Martin Bolton, Procurement and Finance Manager, G20 Operations and Logistics Division.

Mr Brenton Goldsworthy, Acting General Manager, Macroeconomic Conditions Division

Mr David Drage, Principal Adviser—Financial Markets, Macroeconomic Conditions Division

Mr Simon Duggan, General Manager, Macroeconomic Modelling and Policy Division

Ms Kerstin Wijeyewardene, Acting General Manager, International Policy and Engagement Division

Mr James Chisholm, Principal Adviser, International Policy and Engagement Division

Mr John Lonsdale, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Peter Alexander, Acting Group Manager, Corporate Strategy and Services Group

Mr Matthew King, Chief Finance Officer, Financial and Ministerial Management Division

Ms Emma Greenwood, General Manager, People and Organisational Strategy Division

Mr Luke Hickey, General Manager, Publications and Communications Division

Output Group 2.1—Revenue Group

Mr Rob Heferen, Deputy Secretary

Ms Kate Preston, Acting General Manager, Small Business Tax Division

Mr Steve French, General Manager, Tax Analysis Division

Mrs Marisa Purvis-Smith, Principal Adviser, Tax Analysis Division

Mr Anthony King, Manager, Tax Analysis Division, Retirement Income Modelling Unit

Mr Matthew Maloney, Manager, Tax Analysis Division, Business and Indirect Tax Costings Unit

Mr Paul Palisi, Manager, Tax Analysis Division, Personnel Tax and Transfers Unit

Dr Susie Kluth, Manager, Tax Analysis Division, Model Development Practice

Ms Angela Baum, Manager, Tax Analysis Division, Revenue Analysis Unit

Dr John Clark, Senior Adviser, Tax Analysis Division, Revenue Analysis Unit

Ms Luise McCulloch, General Manager, Corporate and International Tax Division

Mr Matthew Brine, Manager, Corporate and international Tax Division

Mr Brendan McKenna, Manager, Corporate and international Tax Division

Mr Michael Atfield, Manager, Corporate and international Tax Division

Mr Greg Wood, Manager, Corporate and international Tax Division

Mr Paul Tilley, General Manager, Personal and Retirement Income Division

Mr Roger Brake, General Manager, Tax White Paper Taskforce

Ms Emily Hurley, Senior Adviser, Tax White Paper Taskforce

Mr Anthony Regan, Principal Advisor, Law Design Practice

Output Group 3.1—Fiscal Group

Mr Nigel Ray, Deputy Secretary

Mr Damien White, General Manager, Industries and Infrastructure Division

Mr Christopher Legg, Chief Adviser, Industries and Infrastructure Division

Ms Melissa Cranfield, Principal Adviser, Industries and Infrastructure Division

Mr Matthew Flavel, General Manager, Budget Policy Division

Mr Jonathan Rollings, Principal Adviser, Budget Policy Division

Mr Matt Crooke, Principal Adviser, Budget Policy Division

Ms Sam Reinhardt, General Manager, Commonwealth-State Relations Division

Ms Leesa Croke, General Manager, Social Policy Division

Mr Rob Raether, Principal Adviser, Social Policy Division

Ms Lee Steel, Manager, Commonwealth State Relations Division

Ms Karla Rayner, Manager, Commonwealth State Relations Division

Mr Marty Robinson, Principal Adviser, Social Policy Division

Output Group 4.1—Markets Group

Ms Jan Harris, Deputy Secretary, Markets Group

Mr Paul McCullough, General Manager, Deregulation Division

Ms Meghan Quinn PSM, General Manager, Financial System and Services Division

Ms Diane Brown, Principal Adviser, Financial System and Services Division

Mr Trevor Power, Principal Adviser, Financial System and Services Division

Ms Vicki Wilkinson, Principal Adviser, Financial System and Services Division

Mr Jerome Davidson, Acting Principal Adviser, Financial System and Services Division

Mr Peter Martin, Australian Government Actuary

Mr Rob Donelly, General Manager, Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division

Mr John Hill, Manager, Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division

Mr David Earl, Manager, Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division

Mr Michael Willcock, General Manager, Small Business, Competition and Consumer Policy Division

Mr Ben Dolman, Principal Adviser, Small Business, Competition and Consumer Policy Division

Ms Anne Scott, Principal Adviser, Small Business, Competition and Consumer Policy Division

Ms Jenny Allen, Manager, Small Business, Competition and Consumer Policy Division

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Mr David. W. Kalisch, Australian Statistician

Mr Ian Ewing, Deputy Australian Statistician, Economic and Environment Statistics Group

Mr Peter Harper, Deputy Australian Statistician, Population, Labour and Social Statistics Group

Mr Michael Davies, First Assistant Statistician, Macroeconomic Statistics Division

Mr Jonathan Palmer, Deputy Australian Statistician, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Trevor Sutton, Deputy Australian Statistician, ABS 2017 Group

Mr Paul Jelfs, First Assistant Statistician, Social, Health and Labour Division

Ms Gemma Van Halderen, First Assistant Statistician, Population, Education and Data Integration Division

Mr Bill Allen, Acting First Assistant Statistician, Business, Industry and Environment Statistics Division

Mr Lewis Conn, Assistant Statistician, Office of the Statistician and External Engagement

Ms Alana Foster, Assistant Statistician, Financial Management Branch

Ms Gillian Nicoll, Acting First Assistant Statistician, Program Management and Infrastructure Division

Ms Jenine Borowik, First Assistant Statistician, Program Delivery Division

Dr Sui-Ming Tam, First Assistant Statistician, Methodology and Data Management Division

Mr Patrick Hadley, First Assistant Statistician, Technology Services Division

Ms Donna Nicholson, Acting Assistant Secretary, Human Resources Branch

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Ms Susan Pascoe AM, Commissioner

Mr David Locke, Assistant Commissioner

Mr Murray Baird, Assistant Commissioner

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Mr Rod Sims, Chairman

Ms Rayne de Gruchy, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Warwick Anderson, General Manager, Network Finance and Reporting, Australian Energy Regulator

Ms Michelle Groves, Australian Energy Regulator, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Scott Gregson, Executive General Manager, Consumer Enforcement Division

Mr Marcus Bezzi, Executive General Manager, Competition Enforcement Division

Mr Nigel Ridgway, Executive General Manager, Consumer Small Business Product Safety Division

Mr Michael Cosgrave, Executive General Manager, Infrastructure and Transport Division

Mr Rami Greiss, Executive General Manager, Merger and Authorisation Review Division

Mr Matthew Schroder, General Manager, Access and Pricing

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Mr Wayne Byres, Chairman

Mr Ian Laughlin, Deputy Chairman

Mrs Helen Rowell, APRA Member

Mr Charles Littrell, Executive General Manager, Policy, Statistics and International

Mr Stephen Glenfield, General Manager, South West Region, Specialised Institutions Division

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Mr Greg Medcraft, Chairman

Mr Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman

Mr Greg Tanzer, Commissioner

Ms Cathie Armour, Commissioner

Mr John Price, Commissioner

Mr Greg Kirk, Senior Executive Leader, Strategy Group

Mr Warren Day, Senior Executive Leader, Assessment and Intelligence

Mr Chris Savundra, Senior Executive Leader, Markets Enforcement

Ms Louise Macaulay, Senior Executive Leader, Financial Advisors

Mr Tim Mullaly, Senior Executive Leader, Financial Services Enforcement

Australian Taxation Office

Mr Chris Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation

Mr Geoff Leeper, Second Commissioner, People Systems and Services

Mr Andrew Mills, Second Commissioner, Law Design and Practice

Mr Neil Olesen, Second Commissioner, Compliance

Ms Frances Cawthra, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Jacqui Curtis, First Assistant Commissioner, ATO People

Mr Jeremy Hirschhorn, Chief Tax Counsel

Ms Alison Lendon, Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation

Mr Matthew Bambrick, Assistant Commissioner, Superannuation

Mr Michael O’Neill, Acting Deputy Commissioner, International

Mr Shane Reardon, Deputy Commissioner, Public Groups

Mr Tony Poulakis, Assistant Commissioner, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Mr Oliver Yates, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Meg McDonald, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Andrew Powell, Chief Financial Officer

Commonwealth Grants Commission

Mr John Spasojevic, Secretary,

Mr Phil Parkins, Director of Corporate Services

Inspector General of Taxation

Mr Ali Noroozi, Inspector General of Taxation,

Mr Andrew McLoughlin, Deputy Inspector General of Taxation

Productivity Commission

Mr Peter Harris, Chairman

Mr Daryl Quinlivan, Head of Office

Ms Rosalyn Bell, Assistant Commissioner

Committee met at 09 : 00

CHAIR ( Senator Edwards ): I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed expenditure for 2014-15 and related documents for the Treasury and Industry portfolios. The committee has set Friday, 6 March 2015, as the date by which senators are to submit written questions on notice and has set Friday, 17 April 2015, as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned. Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate governing estimates hearings. If you need assistance, the secretariat has a copy of the rules. In particular, I draw the attention of witnesses to the order of the Senate of 13 May 2009, specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised, which I now incorporate in Hansard.

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to te proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

   (a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

   (b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders, pp 124-125)

Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order. Instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document.

Officers called upon for the first time to answer a question should state their name and their position for the Hansard record and witnesses should speak clearly into the microphone. Please make sure that all mobile phones are switched off or turned to silent. I remind senators and witnesses that microphones remain live unless I instruct otherwise—for example, at a suspension or adjournment. I would ask photographers and cameramen to follow the established media guidelines and the instructions of the committee secretariat. Please ensure that senators' and witnesses' laptops and personal papers are not filmed. I remind members of the public and everyone in the gallery that they are not permitted to speak or interfere with the proceedings or with the witnesses at any point during the hearing. Security is present and they will be asked to remove anyone who does not follow these instructions.

The committee will continue to hear from the Treasury portfolio, with questions for the Australian Bureau of Statistics followed by the Markets Group; the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission; and the Australian Taxation Office and the Revenue Group, which will be appearing together. I welcome back the Minister for Finance, Senator the honourable Mathias Cormann, representing the Treasurer, and officers of the ABS.