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Monday, 30 October 2000
Page: 21676

Mr Hatton asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, upon notice, on 14 August 2000:

(1) Is the Minister's Department and agencies within the Minister's portfolio compliant in respect of the Goods and Services Tax.

(2) What action did the Minister's Department and agencies within the Minister's portfolio take to ensure that they were GST ready by 1 July 2000.

(3) Is the Minister able to guarantee that no agency within the Minister's portfolio will suffer negative impacts on its budget or services due to the GST; if not, or if the guarantee was subsequently proved incorrect, would the Minister be prepared to resign.

Mr Moore (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable member's question is:

(1) In June 2000, the chief executives of all agencies within my portfolio were asked to provide me with written confirmation that they would be able to comply with The New Tax System from 1 July 2000. I received such assurances from each agency.

(2) Significant effort was made by all agencies within my portfolio to prepare for the GST. This effort was closely monitored by the Department of Finance and Administration.

The activities undertaken by my agencies included the following:

. Registering for Australian Business Numbers and the GST

. Notifying suppliers of relevant issues relating to The New Tax System

. Addressing critical transition issues, particularly in relation to contracts

. Updating accounting systems and processes

. Reviewing record keeping requirements to ensure they comply with GST requirements

. Analysing the effect of GST on cash flows and pricing and making price changes in accordance with the agency pricing guidelines and the ACCC guidelines

. Conducting training for staff

(3) The implementation and ongoing management of tax reform by agencies is the responsibility of their respective chief executive officers or boards of management (as applicable). While the Government will continue to monitor the impact of the implementation of The New Tax System, the reforms are not expected to reduce the level of funding of agencies in this portfolio in real terms.