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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 7920

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (09:45): I would like to thank all of those members who have contributed constructively to this debate. The Income Tax (Managed Investment Trust Withholding Tax) Amendment Bill 2012 amends the Income Tax (Managed Investment Trust Withholding Tax) Act 2008 to increase the managed investment trust final withholding tax rate to 15 per cent. This will apply to distributions made in relation to income years commencing on or after 1 July 2012.

Schedule 1 to the Tax Laws Amendment (Managed Investment Trust Withholding Tax) Bill 2012 makes consequential amendments to the Tax Administration Act 1953 to give effect to these changes. The new rate of 15 per cent withholding tax for managed investment trusts is still competitive with rates applying in other countries, and will bring us into line with or better than the US, Canada, Hong Kong and the UK. It is consistent with our original 2007 election commitment, and it is half of the 30 per cent rate that applied under the previous government.

When Labor came to office and reduced the 30 per cent tax rate, we heard howls of protest from the coalition. Peter Costello called it 'a tax cut for foreigners'. The member for Pearce was heard to ask: 'Why would you want to favour foreign investments and make them pay less than Australian companies?' But now the coalition is opposing this fiscally responsible approach that will continue to attract investment while also getting a fair return for Australian taxpayers.

You might find this strange, given that it is half the rate that was in place when those opposite were in government, but the coalition are addicted to their reckless negativity. They just cannot pass up on an opportunity to say no. Of course, if the coalition are genuinely opposed to the 15 per cent withholding tax rate, they should commit to reversing it in office. I see the shadow Treasurer is in the chamber, and I am sure he would be happy to stand up and to commit to reversing it in office. If he does that, he should also come clean about which payments and which frontline services he will rip away in order to fund this tax cut. If they are not prepared to set out exactly how they will fund this then the Australian people would be entitled to be sceptical and to take the view that the opposition's $70 billion black hole will only be getting larger and larger.

This government has taken the responsible decisions to bring the budget back to surplus on time and as promised. This responsible savings measure better balances the need for Australia to be an attractive destination for foreign investment by ensuring that Australia receives a fair return on profits to be made in Australia. I commend the bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The question is that the bill be now read a second time. There being more than one voice calling for a division, in accordance with the resolution agreed to yesterday the division is deferred until the conclusion of discussion of a matter of public importance.

Debate adjourned.