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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4364

Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (17:56): by leave—Opposition members of the committee made supplementary remarks to the report with respect to the Advisory Report on the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 1) Bill 2012. I rise to speak in respect to a number of schedules of the bill. In many respects the schedules to the bill are technical in nature. There were, however, for coalition members, and in particular for Liberal members on this committee, specific concerns that we sought to highlight through our supplementary remarks to the report. In particular I would like to focus on them. Primarily among them was schedule 3, which sees the government pause the indexation of the concessional superannuation contributions cap.

In our supplementary comments we make the point that, as a consequence of the pausing of the concessional superannuation contributions cap, the government will effectively be charging an extra $485 million in tax. The policy rationale put forward by the Labor government and by Treasury officials as to why this was happening was 'to improve the government's fiscal position'. It is worth noting, as Liberal members of the committee made very clear and as the evidence from committee members made very clear, the reason this was necessary to improve the government's fiscal position is that the government's fiscal position has deteriorated so much.

That is the consequence of $485 million being slugged from Australians, who are building to provide for their own retirement, in order to prop up this government. That is why Liberal members of the committee went to some length to highlight the evidence which made it crystal clear that, had there not been such a rapid deterioration of the government's fiscal position, there would not be a need to raise this $485 million in tax. The point that is made explicitly in the document, in the report that the committee has put forward and in the supplementary remarks from Liberal members, is that had we not—and this is but one example—seen this government waste $1 billion on Building the Education Revolution there would be no need for this measure. The net position would have been a $515 million improvement for the Commonwealth's position. That is just one very straightforward example that Liberal members of the committee made in the report.

In addition to that, the Liberal members of the committee also dealt with schedule 4, the excess contributions tax refund. We looked at the testimony that was put forward by witnesses with respect to the government's rationale for the $10,000 limit and the requirement that there is effectively only one opportunity to breach the cap without penalty. It was the view of Liberal members of the committee that the rationale for this remained opaque and that there should in fact be from a policy perspective additional opportunities provided. It is very clear based on the evidence that came from witnesses that there is opportunity, as a consequence of the reporting periods, for members to inadvertently breach the cap without any intent. That was another point that Liberal members of the committee made in our supplementary remarks. I will confine my comments to those two schedules. We did not oppose the passage of the bill; however, we felt that with the improvements that were outlined in the supplementary remarks overall the bill could have been improved.