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Thursday, 21 March 2002
Page: 1851


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (10:52 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill will provide legislative authority for the domestic entry into force of a new comprehensive taxation agreement with the Russian Federation and a protocol amending the Australia-United States double taxation convention. The bill will insert the text of these agreements into the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 as schedules to that act.

The bill includes consequential amendments following changes to the treatment of equipment royalties paid to US residents arising from the protocol. The amendments will apply generally to deal with all cases where a domestic law royalty payment is not treated as a royalty for the purposes of a tax treaty.

The Russian Agreement and US Protocol were signed on 7 September 2000 and 27 September 2001 respectively. Details of the agreements were announced and copies made publicly available following the respective dates of signature.

The government believes the conclusion of the Russian Agreement will strengthen trade, investment, and wider relationships between Australia and Russia. The Russian Agreement will enter into force when diplomatic notes are exchanged advising that all of the necessary domestic processes to give them the force of law in each country have been completed.

The US Protocol reflects the close economic relations between Australia and the United States of America and is a first step in building a competitive and up-to-date tax treaty network for Australia. It will significantly assist trade and investment flows between the two countries. The US Protocol will enter into force when both countries have formally ratified it.

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 measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Sidebottom) adjourned.