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Wednesday, 23 March 1994
Page: 2041

Senator SHERRY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) (12.36 p.m.) —I will address the two matters that Senator Watson raised. Firstly, in relation to the tax applying twice on the one car parking space, the provisions are for the fringe benefit taxing of an individual. Therefore, if two individuals use the same car parking space, the answer is yes. For example, when a morning-shift worker occupies that space for five, six or eight hours, and the space is then occupied by an afternoon-shift worker for any number of hours, they both attract a tax. The second suggestion is that one standard rate should apply—

Senator Watson —It's a double tax on the one space.

Senator SHERRY —But the tax is not on the space, the tax is on the individuals who use the space.

Senator Watson —The tax is on the company.

Senator SHERRY —Or on the companies that provide that benefit.

Senator Watson —On the employer.

Senator SHERRY —That is right, yes. We cannot accept the second suggestion of a common rate across Australia. Put quite simply, if we took an average rate across Australia, it would clearly disadvantage people outside Sydney. If you pay an average rate, why should people say in Hobart, or other geographic centres where car parking is not as costly, have to pay a higher rate just because of the higher commercial rate which apply in Sydney? Why should we average it in that way? It is best to have the rate reflect the commercial charge that is applicable in a particular centre—and that will obviously vary from centre to centre.