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Thursday, 13 November 2008
Page: 10843

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (9:09 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Nation-building Funds (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 supports the establishment of the new nation-building funds: the Building Australia Fund, the Education Investment Fund and the Health and Hospitals Fund.

As detailed in my earlier speech, the nation-building funds build Australia’s infrastructure needs for the future.

This consequential amendments bill will allow for interim arrangements to begin as soon as possible to implement the government’s nation-building funds agenda in response to the global financial crisis.

The investments of all three nation-building funds will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians. The government will close the Communications Fund and transfer its balance to the Building Australia Fund. The government will also close the Higher Education Endowment Fund and transfer its balance to the Education Investment Fund.

I will now discuss the material changes in the bill.

The bill repeals part 9C of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, which establishes the Communications Fund, and repeals the Higher Education Endowment Fund Act 2007.

The bill also makes the necessary amendments to the Future Fund Act 2006, the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and the Telstra Corporation Act 1991 reflecting the closure of the Communications Fund and Higher Education Endowment Fund.

Consequential amendments extend the Future Fund Act’s operation to deal with the Future Fund Board of Guardians’ duties in relation to the Building Australia Fund, Education Investment Fund, and Health and Hospitals Fund.

I commend this bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Lindsay) adjourned.