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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Page: 3801


Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (GortonMinister for Privacy and Freedom of Information, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice) (10:28): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is the second of three bills that will give effect to the 2010-11 budget announcement that from the 2011-12 financial year, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) would recover the costs of its regulatory activities from the businesses regulated under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing Act 2006(AML/CTF Act).

This bill enables AUSTRAC to collect the supervisory cost recovery levy from businesses under the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2011. It establishes the framework for administrating the levy, including matters relating to collection, invoicing, and dealing with late payments.

Liability to pay levy

Businesses that are not otherwise exempted from paying the levy will be required to pay it in any given financial year if they provided a designated service in the previous financial year and are enrolled or required to enrol at the census day. The census day will be the date on which an entity's liability to pay the levy for the current financial year will be calculated. The census day is defined in the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2011.

Reporting entities that cease to provide designated services and are not enrolled at census day will not be liable to pay the levy. This recognises that the legal status or business activities of reporting entities may change due to bankruptcy, merger or acquisition.

Facilitation of group payments

In keeping with the government's commitment to reduce the regulatory burden, wherever possible, businesses regulated by AUSTRAC may nominate another entity to receive the levy invoice and to discharge the obligation on its behalf. This will enable corporate groups to streamline the receipt and payment of invoices through a single entity.

Waivers

The government recognises that there may be some circumstances in which a business may not be able to pay the levy or where imposing a late penalty payment is not appropriate. In these circumstances, the AUSTRAC CEO will have the capacity to waive the levy and/or the late payment penalty. A decision by the AUSTRAC CEO to waive the levy or late payment penalty will be a reviewable decision before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.