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Thursday, 25 November 2010
Page: 3898

Mr BRADBURY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (12:52 PM) —I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

I would like to thank all the members who have contributed to the debate on the Tax Laws Amendment (Confidentiality of Taxpayer Information) Bill 2010. The bill reflects the government’s commitment to reduce the volume and complexity of the taxation law. The primary purpose of the bill is to consolidate into a single framework taxation secrecy and disclosure provisions currently found across 18 different taxation acts. In doing so, it will overcome inconsistencies and ambiguities associated with the existing provisions.

The bill affirms the importance of maintaining a high level of protection of information provided by taxpayers. As with the existing law, it will impose serious sanctions for the unauthorised disclosure of taxpayer information. The government has also decided to agree to the opposition amendments to the bill. The opposition’s amendments will provide for new approval procedures for particular disclosures by taxation officers under the bill, including that senior officers approve disclosures to law enforcement agencies; to require that the Australian Taxation Office publish these procedures on its website; and create new annual reporting requirements for disclosures made to ministers and law enforcement agencies. I commend the bill and the amendments to the House.