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Thursday, 23 June 2005
Page: 20

Mr ENTSCH (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) (10:20 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill sets out the fees payable in relation to the registration of transfers and dealings in titles under the proposed Offshore Petroleum Act.

The act proposed to be created by this bill is consequential on the repeal of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Registration Fees) Act 1967 and is its replacement in conjunction with the Offshore Petroleum Bill 2005 and other bills achieving the rewrite of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 and incorporated acts.

The proposed Offshore Petroleum Act will provide for the approval and registration of legal transactions that affect the ownership of titles. These transactions have no force until they have been thus approved and registered.

This is in order to maintain an accurate public register of the ownership of titles. Replicating the provisions of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Registration Fees) Act, the registration of these transactions attracts a registration fee.

This bill sets out the different levels of registration fees that are to be payable, which can range from a minimum amount prescribed in regulations to an ‘ad valorem’ fee of 1.5 per cent of the value of the consideration or of the value of the title or interest.

The bill contains proposed policy changes to the effect that registration fees be extended to cover transfers of, and dealings in, infrastructure licences. In the long term, this could be expected to lead to some increases in registration fee revenues. However, during the five years for which provisions for infrastructure licences have existed in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act, no infrastructure licences have been granted. It would therefore be inappropriate to attempt to quantify what the level of any such revenue increase would be.

The bill also proposes a minor clarification of what appears in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Registration Fees) Act in relation to the deduction from the amount of registration fee imposed by the act of the value of any exploration works to be carried out under the dealing that is being registered. The current provision is not entirely clear on whether this deduction includes works which, for whatever reason, are carried out after the instrument evidencing the dealing is executed but before the instrument is submitted for registration. The bill makes it clear that works of the latter type are to be included.

Since the provision in question has generally been administered consistently with the interpretation that is now proposed to be made explicit in this bill, there should be little or no financial impact for Commonwealth revenues from making this clarification. I commend the bill to honourable members and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Gavan O’Connor) adjourned.