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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12194


Mr BILLSON (Dunkley) (12:04): I rise to speak on the government's Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 and Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012.

The Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 contains a range of measures implementing various changes to superannuation and income tax acts. The first schedule of this bill seeks to reinstate capital gains tax temporary loss relief and asset rollover for complying superannuation funds, other than self-managed superannuation funds, and approved deposit funds seeking to merge. These changes will see loss relief applied to transfers and from pool superannuation trusts and life insurance companies, as well as superannuation funds and approved deposit funds. This loss relief will be welcomed by some in the superannuation sector who missed the window when the opportunity for this relief was first granted in 2008 following the impact of the global financial crisis on equity markets and the impact that in turn had on the superannuation sector. The coalition supported the tax relief for merging super funds at the time as a sensible measure to ensure otherwise sensible mergers of superannuation funds were not prevented by taxation considerations. This bill seeks to again implement this measure on a temporary basis, this time for mergers that occur on or after 1 October 2011 and before 2July 2017. The coalition is supportive of this measure and understands the importance this has for the sector.

Schedule 2 of the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 seeks to introduce a new registration regime for auditors of self-managed superannuation funds, SMSFs. While the government's Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012 establishes the framework of the new registration regime for SMSF auditors, some of the detail has been left to regulations. The coalition will be moving an amendment to excise schedule 2 from the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012. The coalition will be doing this on the grounds that we believe these provisions are yet another example of onerous regulation from a government addicted to applying red tape to the financial sector. No argument or evidence has been advanced by the government that current regulatory arrangements involving the tax office, the Tax Practitioners Board and the accounting professional bodies are failing or in some way deficient. I can state, however, that the coalition will not oppose this bill if our amendments are unsuccessful. We are doing this because we understand it is important to reinstate capital gains tax temporary loss relief and asset rollover for complying superannuation funds—and we would like to see these measures pass the parliament. The coalition will, however, use this opportunity to express our disappointment yet again at this government for the onerous regulatory impost it continues to impose on the superannuation sector.

The Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012 establishes the framework of the new registration regime for SMSF auditors, although some of the detail has been left to regulations. The bill lists a raft of new regulatory compliance measures on the sector such as the compulsory registration of self-managed superannuation fund auditor and the professional development requirements that will have to be met by self-managed superannuation fund auditors. Not only does the Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012 set out a raft of new regulatory requirements but also it imposes a variety of new fees. One such detail is the fees to be charged. The legislation before the House seeks to allow a new application fee for registration as an approved SMSF auditor to be paid by the applicant; a new fee will be payable when an applicant is undertaking a competency examination; when a statement is made to ASIC in accordance with this new legislation a new fee will be payable, with a further fee payable if this statement was given one month after it fell due; and, a fee is also required to be paid when a person provides a change in particulars to ASIC in accordance with the legislation, with a further fee payable if this is given one month after such changes.

Under this new regime these fees are expected to not exceed a maximum of $1,000; however, there is no detail in the legislation, as it has been left to regulation. But there was a clue in the second reading speech from the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation and the Minister for Workplace Relations. He indicated that self-managed superannuation fund orders will be subjected to a $100 initial registration fee for an online application, a $100 fee to take a competency exam in addition to a $50 fee for an annual statement to ASIC.

According to the regulatory impact statement, SMSF trustees will be subject to an approximate $14 increase in their SMSF levy, which will be paid annually. But how can those impacted by this legislation trust that the government will not increase these fees and charges, in light of what was handed down in MYEFO only last week? The government's early MYEFO, the one it handed down to avoid disclosing the true state of mining tax revenues, revealed a detraining budget position—yet, again the government chose to hit the self-managed superannuation sector by smacking it with higher fees. The increase to the SMSF fund levy from $191 to $259 will hit 480,000 self-managed superannuation funds and will raise $320 million over the forward estimates. This raid was also so the government could bolster its bottom line. Over half of the government's promised surplus in 2012-13 will be achieved through ripping even more money out of the superannuation system, a system already undermined by Labor's consistent tax grabs since coming to power.

As stated previously, the coalition will be opposing measures which impose further onerous regulatory requirements on self-managed superannuation funds. Schedule 3 of the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 aims to expand the reporting obligations for superannuation providers. Currently, a superannuation provider is only required to report about individual accounts if they have received contributions throughout the year and either the superannuation interest is held at the end of the period or the member received a benefit during the period. Effectively, no statement is requirement for inactive superannuation accounts. Under the revised reporting obligations funds will be required to provide statements for all members, both active and inactive. This is to support the implement the Stronger Future package, in particular the measures designed to facilitate consolidation of superannuation funds and accounts. The first member statements are due out by October 2013.

The changes contained within schedule 4 of the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 seek to amend the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 and the Retirement Savings Account Act 1997 to improve the linking of tax file numbers to superannuation accounts with the intended purpose of making them less likely to become inactive. These changes will enable the commissioner to keep a register containing information necessary to facilitate the transmission of information and electronic payments, and allow the commissioner to require information from an employer to determine whether regulations and standards are being met. The commissioner may disclose a member's tax file number to a superannuation fund only when the member has quoted their TFN in another superannuation fund with which they have an account. Trustees of eligible superannuation entities will the check the tax file number with the commission to ensure accurate information is being recorded, along with employers checking employees' tax file numbers. It should be noted that any member of a superannuation fund is not legally required to quote their tax file number. This legislation does not change that.

As stated at the outset on this debate on the bill, the coalition supports measures within the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief and Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 which seek to reinstate capital gains tax temporary loss relief and asset rollover for complying superannuation funds other than self-managed superannuation funds and for approved deposit funds seeking to merge. This measure will be welcome by those in the market who did not take advantage of this opportunity when it was originally offered back in 2008, during the heights of the global financial crisis. The coalition supports this measure.

However, as I have stated, the coalition does not approve of the additional regulatory burdens and fees that schedule 2 of the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief And Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012 and the Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012, imposed on the self-managed superannuation fund sector—particularly in light of the light of the increase charges the government handed down in it rushed MYEFO last week. The coalition will move detailed amendments to excise schedule 2 from the Superannuation Laws Amendment (Capital Gains Tax Relief And Other Efficiency Measures) Bill 2012. If our amendments are unsuccessful then the coalition will not oppose this bill or the Superannuation Auditor Registration Imposition Bill 2012.