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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3575

(Question No. 1474)

Senator Newman asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 23 October 1986:

(1) Can the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce advise what organisations were invited to consult with the Government on a review of the Fringe Benefits Tax last week.

(2) Can the Minister advise which of these organisations purported to represent small business

(3) Which organisations were refused permission to attend the review

(4) Why was COSBOA, which represents 130,000 small businesses, refused direct representation.

Senator Button —The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The following organisations were invited to consult with the Government on the review of the fringe benefits tax-

The Confederation of Australian Industry

The Business Council of Australia

The Australian Council of Professions

The Institute of Chartered Accountants

The Australian Society of Accountants

The Law Council of Australia

The Taxation Institute of Australia

The National Farmers Federation

Professor Bernard Marks was also invited to attend. With the exception of the National Farmers Federation, all those invited attended the consultations on 17 October.

(2) The Senator may not be aware that the four person delegation from the Confederation of Australian Industry included Mr John Fowler of the Small Business Association of Australia. While I am unable to speak for the business and professional organisations who attended the consultations of 17 October, I see no reason to doubt that the individuals present were able to articulate the concerns of employers, including small business employers. In particular, representatives of the legal and accounting professions drew attention to concerns raised by their small business clients. In addition to these particular consultations, I should point out that all written submissions from small business groups and other interested parties were carefully considered in the Government's review of administrative difficulties and unintended consequences associated with the implementations of the fringe benefits tax.

(3) In view of the need for the review to be conducted as expeditiously as possible, and because a wide range of material on administrative problems and unintended outcomes was already available, the Government saw no need to involve a large number of organisations in lengthy consultations. For these reasons, it was neither possible nor necessary for the Government to accede to, or record, every request for participation in the review.

(4) Answered in (2) and (3) above.