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Wednesday, 28 August 2002
Page: 5909


Mr TRUSS (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (9:48 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill accompanies the Egg Industry Service Provision Bill 2002, which provides for the establishment of an egg industry company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act. The company will be responsible for service provision, including research and development (R&D).

Under the existing arrangements, egg R&D services are provided to the industry by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). The egg subprogram is funded through a statutory industry levy, and matching Commonwealth funding for eligible R&D expenditure. Under the new arrangements, provision of R&D services will be transferred to the new company, along with the assets and liabilities associated with the RIRDC egg subprogram.

The Egg Industry Service Provision (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2002 provides for the transfer, and for the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to declare the time at which it is to occur. In order to prevent any financial disadvantage to the industry, the bill provides for the transfer of assets and liabilities to be exempt from stamp duty. For the purposes of GST law, the transfer of assets is taken to be consideration provided by the Commonwealth to the successor body for entering into obligations under the funding contract. As a result, the Commonwealth will be able to claim a refund on any GST imposed.

Once the assets and liabilities have been transferred to the company, their use will be governed by obligations and accountability requirements outlined in a funding contract with the Commonwealth. In addition, details of the new industry services body's accountability arrangements to its members and to the Commonwealth will be included in its constitution. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Cox) adjourned.