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Thursday, 6 April 2000
Page: 15390


Mr McGAURAN (Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation) (9:36 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The International Tax Agreements Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2000 will provide legislative authority for the domestic entry into force of a new comprehensive double taxation agreement with Romania and an amending protocol to our existing agreement with Finland. The bill will insert the text of the agreement and the protocol into the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 as schedules to that act.

The agreement between Australia and Romania was signed on 2 February 2000, and the Finnish protocol was signed on 5 November 1997.

Details of the agreement and the protocol were announced and copies made publicly available following the respective dates of signature.

The new Romanian agreement generally accords with the other comprehensive taxation agreements concluded by Australia in recent years.

The Finnish protocol amends the existing Finnish agreement to exempt from dividend withholding tax dividends paid out of fully taxed company profits. It also updates the agreement in other minor respects.

The government believes the conclusion of the new agreement and protocol will strengthen trade, investment and wider relationships between Australia and each of these countries.

The Romanian agreement will enter into force when diplomatic notes are exchanged advising that all of the necessary domestic processes to give it the force of law in each country have been completed. The Finnish protocol will enter into force 30 days after the later of similar notifications. The enactment of this bill, and the satisfaction of the other procedures relating to proposed treaty actions, will complete the processes followed in Australia for those purposes.

Full details of the amendments are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Laurie Ferguson) adjourned.