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Wednesday, 26 March 2003
Page: 13626


Miss JACKIE KELLY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) (10:15 AM) —by leave—I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill. I move government amendments (1) and (2):

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (after table item 4), insert:

4A. Schedule 1, items 12A to 12F

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent

(2) Schedule 1, page 6 (after line 15), after item 12, insert:

Bounty (Ships) Act 1989

12A Subsection 12(1)

After “eligible costs bounty”, insert “, or eligible research and development expenditure bounty,”.

12B Subsection 12(2)

After “eligible costs bounty” (first occurring), insert “, or eligible research and development expenditure bounty,”.

12C Subsection 12(2)

Omit “eligible costs bounty” (second occurring), substitute “that bounty that is”.

12D Subsection 12(3)

After “eligible costs bounty” (first occurring), insert “, or eligible research and development expenditure bounty,”.

12E Subsection 12(3)

Omit “the eligible costs bounty”, substitute “that bounty”.

12F Treatment of past payments purporting to be advances on account of eligible research and development expenditure bounty

(1) A payment that:

(a) purported to be an advance under subsection 12(1) of the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989 (the Bounty Act) on account of eligible research and development expenditure bounty; and

(b) was made during the period that started on 9 April 1999 and ended on the commencement of this item;

may, to the extent that it has not already been repaid to the Commonwealth by that commencement, be recovered by the Commonwealth from the person as a debt due to the Commonwealth.

(2) A person to whom a payment referred to in subitem (1) was made is entitled, on the commencement of this item, to be paid, by the Commonwealth, an amount equal to the amount of the debt due to it by the person under subitem (1).

(3) The Consolidated Revenue Fund is appropriated for the purpose of payments under subitem (2).

(4) The Commonwealth may set-off the amount of a debt due to it by a person under subitem (1) against an amount that is payable to that person under subitem (2).

(5) Despite subitems (1) and (2), in applying subsection 12(2) or (3) of the Bounty Act after the commencement of this item to the construction or modification of a vessel, any payment made before that commencement in respect of the construction or modification that purported to be an advance on account of eligible research and development expenditure bounty is to be counted as though it had been validly made under subsection 12(1) of that Act.

Note: A person will therefore be liable to repay to the Commonwealth the amount of any excess of the purported advances over the amount of eligible research and development bounty payable to the person.

(6) This item does not, by implication, affect the recovery or set-off of other overpayments purporting to be made under the Bounty Act.

The purpose of the proposed amendments to the Industry, Tourism and Resources Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 is to make a series of minor amendments to the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989. These amendments provide for progress payments for the eligible research and development expenditure bounty, or R&D bounty. They also validate progress payments for R&D bounty made prior to the introduction of these provisions.

In 1999 the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989 was amended to include the payment of an R&D bounty. This is known as the Shipbuilding Innovation Scheme. The act enables registered shipbuilders to access bounty payments in respect of eligible research and development expenditure. The act refers to two types of bounty payment: an eligible costs bounty, or production bounty, and an R&D bounty. Under section 12 of the act, progress payments on the production bounty are permitted but there is no specific provision for progress payments on the R&D bounty.

The R&D bounty was introduced to stimulate innovation in the Australian shipbuilding industry. At the time of the introduction of the R&D bounty it was anticipated that there would be a consistent link between it and the production bounty. There was no intention for the R&D bounty payments to be deferred until a ship was completed. Provision for progress payments on R&D bounty would establish consistency of treatment across both forms of the bounty. This amendment to the bill corrects a deficiency in the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989. The proposed amendment to the bill also validates the progress payments of R&D bounty made prior to the introduction of these provisions.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House with amendments.