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Wednesday, 8 June 1994
Page: 1449


Senator FAULKNER (Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories) (9.46 a.m.) —I move:

  That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

  Leave granted.

  The speeches read as follows

APPROPRIATION (PARLIAMENTARY DEPARTMENTS) BILL 1994-95

The purpose of this bill is to appropriate the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the running costs and capital expenditures of the parliamentary departments for the year ending 30 June 1995. The total amount sought is $127.6 million.

Details of the proposed expenditures are set out in the Schedule to the bill. I commend the bill to the Senate.

APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1994-95

This bill seeks appropriations of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 1994-95 totalling $29,810.7 million.

Appropriation Bill (No. 1) provides for proposed expenditure on the ordinary annual services of Government. The expenditure program of the Government, to which the provisions in this bill relate, was outlined in the Treasuer's Budget Speech, on 10 May.

An amount of $215 million is included under the Advance to Minister for Finance, an increase of 25 per cent over the amount which was provided in Appropriation Act (No. 1) last year. This increase is the first since 1987-88 and is slightly less than the CPI growth over the intervening period. The increase is similar in magnitude to the increase in the Advance to the Minister for Finance provided for in Appropriation Bill (No.2) 1994-95 which I will introduce shortly.

Clause 4 of the bill provides for the appropriation of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to enable the Minister for Finance to issue an amount for the payment of increases in salary and payments in the nature of salary arising out of awards, orders or determinations made under, or in accordance with a law. Allowance has been included in the overall budget figuring for such prospective increases: that allowance is not, however, appropriated in advance of any increases being awarded.

Details of the proposed expenditure are set out in the Schedule to the bill, the main features of which were outlined in the Treasurer's Budget Speech.

I commend the bill to the Senate.

APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 2) 1994-95

This bill seeks appropriations of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 1994-95 totalling $5,013.8 million.

Appropriation Bill (No. 2) provides for proposed expenditure on the construction of public works and buildings, the acquisition of sites and buildings, certain advances and loans, items of plant and equipment which are clearly definable as capital in nature, and expenditure on new policy initiatives for which legislation has not been previously approved. Provision is also made for grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution and for payments to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

An amount of $175 million is included under the Advance to the Minister for Finance, an increase of 25 per cent over the amount which was provided in Appropriation Act (No. 2) last year. This increase is the first since 1987-88 and is slightly less than the CPI growth over the intervening period. The increase is similar in magnitude to the increase in the Advance to the Minister for Finance provided for in Appropriation Bill (No.1) 1994-95 which was introduced earlier this evening.

Details of the proposed expenditure are set out in Schedule 2 to the bill, the main features of which were outlined in the Treasurer's Budget Speech. I commend the bill to the Senate.

LOAN BILL 1994

This bill is a machinery financing measure to enable certain defence expenditures to be met from the Loan Fund rather than the Consolidated Revenue Fund and to supplement the moneys available to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Legally, expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund cannot exceed the moneys available to that Fund. Successive Governments have adopted the practice of introducing a Loan Bill to authorise the issue of moneys from the Loan Fund to meet expenditures that have been appropriated by the Parliament, but for which insufficient funds are available in the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The purpose of this bill is to make provision for the financing of the prospective deficit in the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The Budget deficit of $11.7 billion for 1994-95 gives rise to a prospective deficit in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of about $18.9 billion. The difference between the two deficits arises because appropriations from that Fund include various items which are functionally classified as financing transactions rather than outlays, and thus do not affect the Budget outcome. These items include payments to the National Debt Sinking Fund to redeem or repurchase Commonwealth securities and superannuation payments made by the Commonwealth on behalf of public trading enterprises.

The bill provides authority for the Loan Fund to meet defence expenditures incurred in 1994-95 after the passage of the bill that would otherwise have been met from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and, if necessary, to supplement the Consolidated Revenue Fund so that it can meet its other commitments. The bill also provides the authority to raise loans to cover these payments from the Loan Fund.

Except for loan raising expenses, which are currently estimated at $14.7 million for 1994-95, the bill does not authorise expenditures additional to those already approved by, or currently before, the Parliament. I emphasise that the bill does not in any way impinge on the prerogative of the Parliament to appropriate moneys, but simply provides the means to finance expenditures previously approved and appropriated by the Parliament.

I commend the bill to the Senate and present the explanatory memorandum to the bill.

SALES TAX (LOW-ALCOHOL WINE) AMENDMENT BILL 1994

Mr President, I propose to return the sales tax rate on low-alcohol wine, cider and similar beverages that have an alcohol content of 1.15 per cent or less by volume from 12 per cent, to the concessional rate, which is currently 11 per cent. This measure will place low-alcohol wine, cider and similar beverages on the same footing as their main competitor, non-alcoholic beverages consisting wholly of Australian fruit juice. Non-alcoholic grape and apple juice, either carbonated or non-carbonated, are examples of the beverages that are sold in competition with the low-alcohol wines.

The cost to the revenue is estimated to be $0.4 million in 1994-95, rising to $0.6 million in 1996-97.

Full details of the amendments are contained in the explanatory memorandum being circulated to honourable senators.

Mr President, I commend the bill to the Senate.

  Debate (on motion by Senator Reid) adjourned.

  Motion (by Senator Faulkner) agreed to:

  That the Sales Tax (Low-alcohol Wine) Amendment Bill 1994 be listed on the Notice Paper as a separate order of the day.