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Thursday, 14 February 2002
Page: 188


Mr McGAURAN (Minister for Science) (9:40 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2002 seeks to amend the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 to correct an anomaly in that act.

The Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 imposes a tax on persons making an application for a transmitter licence, which authorises the use of the radiofrequency spectrum. The spectrum access tax is levied to encourage efficiency in the use of the spectrum and to provide a return to the community for the use of a scarce community resource.

However, not all transmitter users are required to apply for a transmitter licence. Commercial television and radio broadcasters, community broadcasters and the national broadcasters are automatically entitled to transmitter licences under the licensing and digital conversion provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

The Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill is a technical measure to clarify the power to impose a tax on the issue of a transmitter licence regardless of whether an application has been made for that licence. The bill also seeks to validate the imposition of the tax on licences that have been affected by the anomaly. As all affected broadcasting licensees have paid the tax, this will not result in any retrospective payment being necessary.

I table the explanatory memorandum and commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Albanese) adjourned.