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Tuesday, 15 June 2004
Page: 23551


Senator TROETH (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (5:16 PM) —I table a correction to the Anti-terrorism Bill 2004, revised explanatory memoranda relating to the Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 2004, and the Medical Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2004 and the Medical Indemnity Legislation Amendment (Run-off Cover Indemnity and Other Measures) Bill 2004, and a replacement explanatory memorandum relating to the Tourism Australia Bill 2004. 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—

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The purpose of the bill before the Senate is to make major changes to the Australian Government's institutional structures in indigenous affairs in order to improve the lives of indigenous Australians.

The Government, along with the majority of the Australian community, believes that indigenous Australians should be able to enjoy the same opportunities as other Australians. We have consistently demonstrated our determination to achieve that end. In 2004-2005, we will allocate a record $2.9 billion—39% more in real terms than in the last year of the Keating Government. The bulk of this funding goes to the practical areas of health, housing, education and employment.

While there have been real improvements as a result of this effort we believe that the rate of progress is not good enough. I am sure that most indigenous Australians would say that they are not getting value for money. The Productivity Commission report `Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage' reinforces the need for fundamental change. No one can say that the current approach is working.

Going beyond the abolition of the ATSIC Board, replacement of Regional Councils and consequential amendments in this bill, the Government will be introducing radical and necessary changes to the way in which services are delivered to indigenous Australians.

The changes will build on what we have learnt from the whole of government approach adopted in the COAG indigenous trials currently operating in each State and Territory.

Over the last 30 years governments of both political persuasions have sought to implement measures to address the long-standing disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These measures have included a range of programmes, legislation and representative structures.

Soon after the then Government established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in 1990, it became evident that no single body could seek both to represent indigenous people and to make independent decisions about the allocation of funds. The Commission found it difficult to effectively advocate on behalf of indigenous people and to provide impartial advice to government.

The ATSIC experiment failed on a number of fronts. Its focus was almost exclusively on Australian Government programmes and services. The fundamentally important role of State and Territory governments was neglected. All too often the specialist indigenous agency, ATSIC, provided an excuse for mainstream departments to avoid their responsibilities to indigenous Australians. Moreover, only a very small proportion of eligible indigenous Australians bothered to vote in ATSIC elections.

The Government took a major step to address problems in ATSIC last year with the establishment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services (ATSIS). This separated the representative functions from decision making on funding. However, this was a transitional arrangement which did not represent a long-term solution to the issues facing ATSIC.

A review of ATSIC delivered to the Government in November 2003 acknowledged a number of significant problems. These included a lack of leadership at the national level of ATSIC, insufficient connection between the national, regional and local levels of the organisation, and a lack of engagement between ATSIC and its constituents at the local level.

It is against this background that the Government has taken the decision to abolish ATSIC and overhaul the way in which services for indigenous Australians are delivered.

While the Labor Party says that it wants to abolish ATSIC its real goal seems to be to establish another elected national indigenous body. Government imposed bodies such as that which Labor is contemplating have failed in the past and no doubt will continue to fail in the future. Other countries with indigenous populations such as the USA and Canada do not have such government established bodies. It would be far more consistent with indigenous self-management for indigenous people to develop and establish their own representative bodies without government interference.

The aim of the new arrangements is to produce better outcomes for indigenous people. The programmes which ATSIC and ATSIS were responsible for will be allocated to mainstream government agencies. One of the advantages of mainstreaming will be to focus the specialist service delivery expertise of mainstream agencies on specific aspects of indigenous disadvantage.

It is important to point out that ATSIC was never responsible for all Australian Government indigenous specific programmes. Indeed, in 1995 the previous Government transferred responsibility for indigenous health from ATSIC to the Department of Health and Ageing because of concerns about the performance of ATSIC.

It is also important to stress that no programmes will cease as a result of the changes we are making and existing levels of funding will continue.

We acknowledge the need for better coordination and for strengthening accountability. Accordingly we will be implementing a series of new measures to enhance coordination and accountability.

A Ministerial Task Force chaired by the Minister responsible for indigenous affairs will be established to provide whole of government leadership on indigenous issues. It will coordinate the Government's indigenous policies and report to Cabinet on directions and priorities in indigenous policy. The Ministerial Task Force will report annually to the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet on the performance of indigenous specific programmes and the allocation of resources across agencies.

A Secretaries Group will support the Ministerial Task Force. It will report annually on the outcomes of indigenous specific services. Secretaries will be directly accountable for successes and/or failures of specific programmes and services. Performance in indigenous programmes and services will be included in their performance agreements.

We are establishing a National Indigenous Council to provide policy advice to the Government at the national level. In particular, it will directly advise the Ministerial Task force on a range of indigenous issues. The National Indigenous Council will be a non-statutory body comprised of indigenous people with expertise and experience in key policy areas.

The new arrangements will be under-pinned by regional agreements as well as shared responsibility agreements at the local level. While some Regional Councils work well, arrangements for engaging with indigenous Australians at the regional and local level need to be improved.

We will be discussing the best way forward with the States and Territories, at the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments. ATSIC's Regional Councils will have the opportunity for input and we recognise that different models are likely to emerge in different regions and jurisdictions.

A new Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination in the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs will provide policy advice to the Minister, coordinate policy development and service delivery across government and oversee relations with State and Territory governments. It will also monitor the performance of government programmes and services including arrangements for independent scrutiny.

We will strengthen service delivery in the regions where a network of indigenous coordination centres in rural and remote areas will replace ATSIC/ATSIS offices. These centres will operate as a multi-disciplinary team offering a whole of government service to local communities.

The Government will expand the role of the Office of Evaluation and Audit, (OEA) currently located in ATSIC. This will be in addition to the role of the Australian National Audit Office and will provide a particular focus on the performance of those programmes. OEA will also continue to investigate the performance of bodies that obtain funding from indigenous specific programmes.

The legislation provides for the transfer of the Regional Land Fund to the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) and ATSIC's Housing Fund and Business Development Programme to Indigenous Business Australia (IBA). The bill also makes provision for the ILC to give funds to IBA to allow it to promote economic development on the land the ILC acquires for indigenous people.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) which provides a range of indigenous specific services to Torres Strait Islanders living in the Torres Strait will continue to perform its current role. The TSRA had some time ago separated its representative and funding functions and is working effectively in meeting the needs of Torres Strait Islanders in the Torres Strait.

The Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board which provided advice to ATSIC about issues affecting Torres Strait Islanders on the mainland will cease to exist as a result of the abolition of ATSIC. Torres Strait Islanders living on the mainland will be represented on the National Indigenous Council.

Labor has expressed concern about some of the consequential changes to other Acts contained in the bill. These concerns are based on a misunderstanding of what the bill does. Labor has said, for example, that the bill proposes that the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department will be responsible for determining funding for Native Title Representative Bodies. This part of the Native Title Act (Part 11) has never been the responsibility of the Attorney-General. It has always been administered by the Minister responsible for indigenous affairs. This will continue to be the case, and with the abolition of ATSIC the decisions on funding will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

Labor also says that the bill removes the requirement for indigenous representation on the National Health and Medical Research Council. This is simply not correct. The Council will continue to include a person with a knowledge of the health needs of indigenous people, who is most likely to be an indigenous person. All the bill does is to remove the requirement that the person be nominated by ATSIC.

The bulk of reforms that we propose do not require legislation and will be introduced administratively on 1 July 2004 regardless of Labor's delaying tactics. However, there is a cost to the taxpayer of retaining the ATSIC Board while Labor goes through another needless round of consultations. The salary package for the Board alone is a significant $52,000 per week.

Labor seems unconcerned about public money being used to keep the discredited shell of ATSIC in existence for no purpose. The Government had considered that there was bi-partisan support to abolish ATSIC swiftly and decisively. Clearly we were mistaken as was the Australian public.

Labor cannot have it both ways—if it is interested in true reform and making a difference the old model cannot be kept afloat for a further period while Labor finds a way to rebadge it. That is neither courageous nor constructive.

We have heard Labor criticise the Government for not consulting enough with the very people this bill will affect. Nothing could be further from the truth. A thorough and extensive consultation process was undertaken involving two major rounds of public consultation. 8,000 copies of the ATSIC Review's Public Discussion Paper were mailed out and a specific website was established.

Furthermore, the Review panel met with a wide range of stakeholders across the nation, including each of the 35 ATSIC Regional Councils and received 156 written submissions. A number of Regional Councils chose to invite community members to participate.

In summary, the public consultations revealed widespread disillusionment and dissatisfaction on the part of indigenous Australians with ATSIC.

Indeed, it will surprise no-one if referring this bill to a Committee results in the same conclusions being reached. Replacing ATSIC with another body or several mini ATSICs as Labor seems to want will not ensure that imposed structures are removed so that indigenous people can speak for themselves.

Referring this bill to a Committee is a terrible waste of resources—the indigenous communities have spoken, and loudly. For those who wish to listen, that is.

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ANTI-TERRORISM BILL 2004

This is a Bill to strengthen Australia's counter-terrorism laws in a number of respects—a task made more urgent following the recent tragic terrorist bombings in Spain which resulted in the loss of 190 innocent lives.

The safety and security of its population and national interests is the most important responsibility of any government.

It is a responsibility this government takes very seriously.

Our response to the threat of terrorism has been comprehensive and wide ranging.

Since the devastating September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, the Government has overhauled Australia's legislative framework in relation to terrorism, to complement existing laws that already targeted terrorism.

But it is a task that is ongoing.

In the current environment, complacency is not an option.

Our counter-terrorism laws require review and, where necessary, updating if we are to have a legal framework capable of safeguarding all Australians from the scourge of terrorism.

This government has worked hard to ensure that the reach of Australia's criminal justice system extends to cover terrorists by eliminating loopholes and gaps.

We have updated the federal Criminal Code to ensure that our offence regime comprehensively responds to terrorism.

The Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2002 introduced a suite of offences into the Criminal Code targeting persons involved in terrorist acts or terrorist organisations.

It is now appropriate to improve the capability of Australia's law enforcement agencies to properly investigate these new terrorism offences.

Since 11 September 2001, the AFP have, sadly, had experience in investigating acts and allegations of international terrorism.

They cooperated closely with Indonesian authorities investigating the Bali bombings.

That experience has revealed that issues such as differences in international time zones may substantially reduce the time available during the investigation period to actually question a suspect.

The Bill responds to these issues in two concrete ways.

First, it extends the fixed investigation period under Part 1C of the Crimes Act for investigations into suspected terrorism offences.

At present, an initial period of 4 hours is available for any investigation, including investigations into terrorism offences, with a further 8 hours available for serious crimes if authorised by a magistrate or other judicial officer.

While this limit has worked well in relation to conventional offences and a time limit is necessary to maintain confidence in the reliability of evidence, it is an inadequate length of time in which to question suspects in the context of complex terrorism investigations that may have international aspects.

The Bill would maintain the initial investigation period of 4 hours, however it would provide for this period to be extended for up to a further 20 hours.

This would give a maximum investigation period of 24 hours.

As with any extension of the fixed investigation period, each extension would have to be authorised by a magistrate or other judicial officer.

The magisterial supervision and other safeguards, such as `dead time' to allow a person arrested to rest and recuperate before and during questioning, should ensure that the reliability of evidence is not compromised.

Secondly, the Bill permits law enforcement agencies to reasonably suspend or delay questioning a person suspected of committing a terrorism offence to make overseas inquiries to obtain information relevant to that terrorism investigation.

At present, the Part 1C questioning regime does not permit investigators to make overseas inquiries without running down the investigation `time clock' or, worse still, releasing the suspect.

Given that terrorism investigations will often have an international dimension it is vital that authorities be able to make overseas inquiries without compromising their obligation to question a suspect fully.

And with international time zones a likely cause of delay in responding to requests for information and assistance from Australian authorities, the Bill prescribes this time as `dead time' so that it does not exhaust the finite investigation period.

In adjusting Australia's investigatory procedures to meet the new terrorist environment, the government recognises the need to ensure that appropriate safeguards are put in place to maintain the balance between security and individual rights and freedom.

That is why this extension would only apply to investigations of relevant terrorist offences under the Criminal Code.

And any decision to suspend or delay questioning to make overseas inquiries must be reasonable in the circumstances and must only last for a reasonable period that does not exceed the amount of the time zone difference.

And that is why all the existing safeguards in Part 1C of the Crimes Act will continue to apply to terrorist suspects being investigated in accordance with the Crimes Act regime.

These safeguards include:

a suspect's right to communicate with a legal practitioner, friend or relative, an interpreter and a consular office

a suspect's right to remain silent

requiring the tape recording of any admissions or confessions made by a suspect as a pre-condition for admissible evidence, and

a suspect's right to a copy of recorded interviews.

These amendments will greatly improve the ability of Australia's law enforcement authorities to effectively enforce our terrorism laws.

The bill also amends the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act.

The recent armed conflict in Afghanistan demonstrates that in today's security environment terrorist organisations may be acting in collaboration with the armed forces of a foreign state.

In future conflicts there is a real possibility that the terrorist organisations will continue to operate with the armed forces of sympathetic foreign states.

The Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act was designed to prohibit Australian citizens and those ordinarily resident in Australia from engaging in hostile activities in a foreign state.

Currently, a person does not commit an offence under the Foreign Incursions Act if the person commits hostile activities while serving in any capacity in or with the armed forces of a foreign state.

As a result, where a terrorist organisation is part of the armed forces of a government, a person involved in that terrorist organisation will not be liable for an offence under the Foreign Incursions Act.

The Bill gives the Government the power to prescribe organisations for the purposes of the Act.

Engaging in hostile activities while in or with a prescribed organisation will not be excused on the basis that the organisation was part of the armed forces of a foreign state.

In recognition of the serious nature of the hostile activities prohibited by the Foreign Incursions Act, the Bill will increase the maximum penalty for committing a hostile activity to twenty years imprisonment.

Currently, the Foreign Incursions Act is only applicable to a non-Australian citizen or resident if the person was in Australia at any time during the year preceding the doing of an act which is an offence against the Act.

This means that a person who is not a citizen or resident escapes the reach of the Foreign Incursions Act on day three hundred and sixty six.

The Bill will amend the Foreign Incursions Act to make it clear that a person, whether or not an Australian citizen or resident, who was in Australia at any time for a purpose connected with a hostile activity will be liable for prosecution under the Act.

The Foreign Incursions Act provides for three types of ministerial certificates, two serving as prima facie evidence of the facts recognised in the certificates and one serving as conclusive evidence of recognised facts.

The three types of certificates relate to facts that are difficult to prove or that may have implications for Australia's international relations because of the political nature of the facts (for example, whether a place or an area is or is in an independent sovereign state, whether a person was acting in the course of his duty to the Commonwealth and whether an authority was in effective governmental control of a state or part of a state).

Proving whether a group or organisation is part of the armed forces of a state is similarly difficult to prove and may also have implications for Australia's international relations.

Recognising this fact, the Bill contains an amendment enabling a Minister to issue a certificate attesting to the fact that a group was not part of the armed forces of a state at any one time.

Such a certificate would be prima facie evidence of the fact stated therein.

These amendments to the Foreign Incursions Act modernise the Act and ensure that it remains a valuable legislative tool in protecting Australia's national security and holding persons accountable for their acts committed both within Australia and overseas.

The Bill also amends the Criminal Code to make it an offence for a person to be a member of an organisation found by a court to be a terrorist organisation on the basis of facts presented in the course of a trial, where that organisation is not listed in regulations as a terrorist organisation.

This amendment will bring the membership offence provisions in line with the other terrorist organisation offence provisions, which apply both in relation to terrorist organisations listed in regulations and organisations found to be terrorist organisations by a court.

The effect of the proposed amendment would be to return the membership offence in Division 102 of the Criminal Code to its original form as set out in the Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill when it was introduced in 2002.

The inconsistency between the membership offence and other terrorist offences was the result of pressure exerted by the Senate during the passage of the Bill.

It does not make sense to have a membership offence which will not apply in circumstances where a court finds that an organisation is a terrorist organisation, and where all other terrorist organisation offences do apply.

A further amendment to section 102.5 of the Criminal Code will introduce modified offences of providing training to or receiving training from a terrorist organisation.

The first offence will apply where a person is reckless as to whether an organisation is a terrorist organisation.

The second offence, which introduces a strict liability component, will apply only in the case where a terrorist organisation has been specified by regulations under Division 102 of the Criminal Code.

The effect of the proposed strict liability provision is that the prosecution still has to prove that the person intentionally provided training to or intentionally received training from an organisation, and that the organisation is a terrorist organisation specified by regulations.

However, the prosecution would not have to prove that the person was aware that it was a specified terrorist organisation.

A person will have available a defence of mistake of fact.

In addition, the offence will not apply if the person is not reckless as to the organisation being a specified terrorist organisation.

The effect of this amendment is to place an onus on persons to ensure that they are not involved in training activities with a terrorist organisation.

This amendment will send a clear message to those who would engage in the training activities of terrorist organisations, which could result in an attack of the kind seen in New York or in Bali, that they can expect to be dealt with harshly.

The last set of amendments concern the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The need for strong and effective laws for the confiscation of proceeds of crime is self-evident and has been considered and supported by this Chamber in the past.

The purpose of such laws is to discourage and deter crime by diminishing the capacity of offenders to finance future criminal activities and to remedy the unjust enrichment of criminals who profit at society's expense.

Literary proceeds are one aspect of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The literary proceeds regime prevents criminals exploiting their notoriety for commercial purposes.

Orders can be made, for example, where criminals sell their stories to the media. Proposed amendments to the regime will further limit the ability of a person to profit from crime.

Literary proceeds include any benefit that a person derives from the commercial exploitation of his or her notoriety resulting from that person committing an indictable or foreign indictable offence.

Three sets of amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act are proposed.

The first amendment will extend the operation of the Proceeds of Crime Act for foreign indictable offences beyond literary proceeds derived in Australia to also cover literary proceeds that have been derived elsewhere and then subsequently transferred to Australia.

The second set of amendments concern the definition of `foreign indictable offence'.

For a literary proceeds order to be made for such an offence, the conduct must also have been an offence under Australian law punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment if it had occurred in Australia.

The Government proposes to amend the definition of `foreign indictable offence' to clarify that the time at which the double criminality test is to be applied is the time of the application for the restraining or confiscation order in question, whichever comes first.

The definition of `foreign indictable offence' will also be amended to make it clear that the term includes an offence triable by a military commission of the United States under a specified military order.

This will ensure that a person convicted of an offence by certain US military commissions cannot exploit his or her notoriety from that offence for commercial gain and derive proceeds in Australia or transfer such proceeds to Australia.

Third, the Act requires that any benefit that a person derives from the commercial exploitation of the person's notoriety results from the person having committed an indictable or foreign indictable offence.

This final amendment to the Act will make it clear that the notoriety need only be indirectly linked to the offence for an order to be made.

For example, the notoriety could flow from where the person was detained rather than from the commission of the offence.

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BANKRUPTCY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 will make important changes to Part X of the Bankruptcy Act 1966.

The bill follows a review of the operation of Part X undertaken by the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia and the Attorney-General's Department.

The review was conducted in response to concerns that Part X arrangements were being manipulated by some debtors to avoid paying their debts.

The reforms generally have three objectives:

to increase the disclosure requirements of debtors, creditors and trustees involved in Part X arrangements;

to simplify the process for establishing these arrangements by replacing the current three types of arrangements and replacing them with a single form of arrangement to be called a personal insolvency agreement; and

to provide a simpler and more consistent process for setting aside and terminating Part X arrangements.

A key finding of the review was that Part X arrangements continue to have an important place in Australia's personal insolvency system as a formal alternative to bankruptcy allowing debtors to come to binding arrangements with creditors for payment or settlement of outstanding debts.

However, there were a number of areas identified in which improvements could be made to increase confidence in these arrangements.

A critical feature of Part X arrangements is that the debtor's proposal must be accepted by creditors.

The creditors are asked to make a decision based on information provided to them and following an opportunity to question the debtor at a creditors' meeting.

It is vital that creditors have available to them all information which is relevant to the debtor's proposal and affairs.

This must include information about relationships between the debtor and controlling trustee and between the debtor and other creditors.

As a result, the Bill proposes amendments to ensure that creditors have early access to the debtor's statement of affairs and that the debtor and controlling trustee are required to make written declarations of any relationships of which creditors should be aware prior to making a decision whether or not to accept the debtor's proposal.

The Bill also proposes amendments which will reduce the complexity of Part X and improve its transparency.

Even the description “Part X arrangements” has been inadequate to describe, for the benefit of debtors and creditors alike, what these arrangements are intended to achieve.

Therefore, the Bill proposes to replace the three existing types of arrangements under Part X with a single type of arrangement to be called a personal insolvency agreement.

A personal insolvency agreement, as described in the Bill, will provide greater choice and flexibility to debtors and creditors.

The debtor's proposal must contain provisions which will give creditors a clearer picture of what they are being asked to accept.

For example, the proposal must detail the property and income to be covered by the agreement and state:

how that property or income is to be dealt with

whether the normal rules for distribution of dividends apply or whether property is to be distributed in another way

whether the antecedent transactions provisions of the Act apply, and

whether and to what extent the agreement will operate to release the debtor from his or her provable debts.

The Bill also proposes amendments to streamline the process for setting aside and terminating personal insolvency agreements.

Currently, there are numerous provisions dealing with when a Part X arrangement is void and for termination of an arrangement.

The amendments will consolidate these provisions so it is clear that there is a single process and set of grounds on which a personal insolvency agreement can be set aside and a single process and set of grounds for terminating a personal insolvency agreement.

Many of the issues which may undermine the integrity of Part X arrangements can also arise in relation to post-bankruptcy schemes of arrangement and compositions under Division 6 of Part IV of the Act.

Therefore, this Bill also includes amendments to those provisions particularly in relation to the disclosure obligations of debtors, creditors and trustees.

These amendments will mirror those being made to Part X.

Finally, the Bill will make some minor and technical amendments to improve the operation of the Bankruptcy Act and correct a drafting error in the transitional provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Act 2002.

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EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill 2004 provides that grants are not payable where the applicant or the applicant's associates are deemed by Austrade, according to Ministerial guidelines, to be `not fit and proper' persons to receive a grant.

The Australian Government strongly supports the EMDG scheme. Each year the Government commits $150.4 million to assist small and medium Australian businesses into the ever-increasing export market by partially reimbursing their eligible expenses.

The scheme is consistently hailed as a benchmark of effectiveness in terms of a Government industry support program. In recent years it has become increasingly popular within the export community. Last year over 3,700 small and medium businesses received grants through the scheme. These businesses generated $5.5 billion in export revenue and reported employment of over 122,000 Australians.

The Government has a continuing focus on assisting small and medium Australian businesses. This is evidenced nowhere better than through the EMDG scheme. Last year 65 per cent of EMDG recipients were employing 20 people or less. Equally importantly, 860 or 23 per cent of grants were paid to businesses in rural and regional Australia.

Currently, under the EMDG Act 1997, even if an applicant may otherwise have been eligible for a grant, there are provisions that determine circumstances in which a grant will not be paid. Sections 85 to 87A specify that grants are not payable if the applicant is not a resident of Australia, does not have an Australian Business Number, has outstanding disqualifying convictions or is under insolvency administration.

What the legislation does not presently allow for is the non-payment of a grant to an applicant who may be viewed by the Australian community as an inappropriate person to represent and promote the public interest of Australia in relation to trade outside Australia, whether by reference to his or her trading history or otherwise.

This Government does not condone behaviour considered by the Australian electorate to be inconsistent with accepted community standards of commercial and personal propriety. We have a duty to taxpayers to ensure that grants paid via Government schemes are not paid to recipients other than those who meet these standards.

Austrade will only be able to make such decisions with reference to Ministerial guidelines, which I will table shortly. The consent of an applicant or his or her associates will be required prior to Austrade undertaking criminal or other relevant checks.

The proposed changes are to take effect for EMDG claims from the 2003-04 EMDG grant year. In other words, this provision will apply to applications received and grants paid from 1 July 2004 onwards.

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FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (INCOME STREAMS) BILL 2004

This Bill gives effect to two measures announced earlier this year in the Government's Statement “A more flexible and adaptable retirement income system”. These measures change the social security and veterans' affairs means test assessments of income streams to:

provide a 50% assets test exemption for a new product, `market-linked income streams' from 20 September 2004; and

change the available assets test exemption from 100% to 50% for certain non-commutable income streams purchased from 20 September 2004.

The Bill also contains amendments to align the characteristics of life expectancy income streams with those of the new market-linked income stream product and a variation to the guarantee period for assets test exempt lifetime income streams.

Social security pension and allowance payments are intended for people who, because of age, disability, unemployment, or caring responsibilities, are unable to adequately support themselves. Social security payments are targeted to those most in need through the assets and income tests. These are collectively known as `the means test'. The means test is the fairest way to ensure that the limited taxpayer funds available for social security expenditure go to those in greatest need.

The assets test is based on the principle that people with substantial assets apart from their home should use those assets either directly or to produce income to meet day to day living expenses before calling upon community resources for income support through the social security system. In order to encourage customers to maximise their private income from employment or investments, an `income free area' is allowed before income starts to affect social security payments.

At present, income streams that meet certain criteria are “asset-test exempt” for the purposes of the means test. This means that the asset value of the income stream is not taken into account when determining a person's eligibility for a social security payment.

This Bill gives effect to two measures announced earlier this year in the Government's Statement “A more flexible and adaptable retirement income system”. These measures change the social security and veterans' affairs means test assessments of income streams to:

extend assets test exempt status for a new product, `market-linked income streams' from 20 September 2004. This product will offer market returns but the purchaser will not be able to withdraw his or her capital before the term of the product has ended (ie it is non-commutable); and

changing the social security assets test exemption from 100% to 50% for non-commutable income streams that are purchased from 20 September 2004 and meet the requirements for exemption from the assets test.

The extension of assets test exempt status to the new `market-linked income streams' is intended to increase competition in the provision of income stream products. Customers will also benefit from having greater choice in selecting an income stream that best meets their retirement needs.

Currently insurance-based income streams, because they provide stable income payments over a guaranteed period, are given concessional tax and social security treatment. Consumers can only select a product that offers a guaranteed but generally low return. This new product will offer potentially higher, but more variable market returns. As with current income streams that receive concessional treatment under the assets test, the purchaser will not be able to withdraw his or her capital before the term of the product has ended.

The change in the assets test exemption from 100% to 50% for `purchased' asset test exempt income streams is intended to ensure that the age pension is paid to those who need it most. Despite the change, a 50% exemption retains a significant incentive for individuals to purchase income streams. Even after the commencement of this legislation, it will be possible for couples to invest up to $900,000 in a complying income stream and still receive some age pension.

All assets test exempt income streams purchased before 20 September 2004 will continue to receive a 100% assets test exemption. This means that no current customers will be affected by this change.

The Bill also contains provisions to align the characteristics of life expectancy income streams products with those of the new market-linked income stream products. The alignment will ensure that these products are treated in a consistent manner under the means test. This will allow individuals to compare the products based on their characteristics, and not short term differences between the expected annual payments.

The Bill also extends the guarantee period for asset-test exempt lifetime income streams. The current means test rules stipulate that an asset test exempt lifetime income stream may only be commuted if the primary beneficiary dies within a 10 year period of purchasing the income stream. The Bill will extend this period to allow a lifetime income stream to be commuted provided the primary beneficiary dies within a period equal to his or her life expectancy or within 20 years of purchasing the income stream, whichever is the lesser.

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FARM HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT AMENDMENT BILL 2004

Farm Help introduction

The purpose of the Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2004 is to extend the Government's Farm Help—Supporting Families Through Change programme and renew its focus to support decision making by low income farmers `who can no longer borrow against their assets' to make changes to their situation. The Bill extends the programme to 30 June 2008.

Passage of the Bill will also give effect to a number of amendments that aim to improve the effectiveness and administration of the Farm Help programme and ensure that it reaches low income farmers most in need. There will be an increased emphasis on using strategic information, analysis and professional advice to support decision-making. The extension of the Farm Help programme and its associated changes will not affect the ongoing Exceptional Circumstances Relief Programme.

Farm Help has been operating since December 1997 to facilitate adjustment by providing a welfare safety net to people on farms in severe financial difficulty. It was a core component of the Australian Government's flagship Agricultural policy, the Agriculture—Advancing Australia package announced in 1997.

The Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2004 will give effect to the Government's 2004 Budget commitment to extend the Farm Help programme until 30 June 2008 as a key component of the ongoing Agriculture—Advancing Australia package. In the 2004-05 Federal Budget the Triple-A package received a $238 million injection, of which $134.9 million over four years is allocated to the Farm Help programme. The funding brings the total provision for the Agriculture—Advancing Australia package since 1997 to over $1 billion.

Continued support for the Farm Help programme demonstrates that the Government is delivering on its commitment to people managing farms in rural and regional Australia and helping them build their capacity to manage risk, adopt new practices and improve strategic planning and decision making.

Programme achievements to date

The direct target group of the Farm Help programme to date has been low income farm families in severe financial difficulty. These people are eligible if they meet means testing requirements, satisfy the eligibility requirements and can no longer borrow against their assets.

The assistance provided through Farm Help is flexible and can be tailored to meet the needs of each farm family. The programme provides up to 12 months income support at the Newstart Allowance rate; a grant for professional advice and training such as financial, legal and business planning, to assist recipients to make decisions about their future in farming; and a re-establishment grant (currently up to $45,000) for people who decide to leave farming and sell the farm. Farm Help is due to conclude on 30 June 2004.

Farm Help has a long record of achievement. Since the programme commenced on 1 December 1997 to 30 April 2004 over 8,600 farmers have received Farm Help income support and over 1,000 farmers have received re-establishment assistance.

What are the changes to the programme?

A major aim of the Farm Help programme is to support low-income farmers in their decision-making to make changes to their situation. The Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2004 introduces a number of procedural and administrative changes to the Farm Help programme and its associated instruments that will enable the programme to operate more effectively and to better reach its target recipients. These changes will be reflected in the Farm Household Support Act 1992, in the Act's disallowable instruments, the Farm Help Re-establishment Grant Scheme and the Farm Help Advice and Training Scheme and in Regulations prescribed by the Act.

The changes have emanated from the on-going monitoring of the programme's performance, a mid-term evaluation of Farm Help and the Performance Audit of Key Agriculture—Advancing Australia Programmes undertaken by the Australian National Audit Office in 2003.

Eligibility for the amended Farm Help programme

New requirements for income support and re-establishment grants mean that a person will have to undertake financial advice and develop their activity plan prior to receiving income support (except in cases of hardship), and prior to receiving a re-establishment grant. Farmers will be encouraged to approach the programme as an opportunity to gain information and skills that will support a better outcome for them and their families in the long term.

Changed object of the Act

The object of the Act has been amended to refer separately to the objects of the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment and Farm Help income support. This is to ensure that there is no interpretation by the Courts that the two schemes are intended to be the same. The Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment focuses on welfare for farmers in declared exceptional circumstance situations. The Farm Help programme no longer focuses on welfare, but on adjustment. It will however, continue to provide short term financial assistance to farmers who are experiencing difficulty in meeting living expenses and are unlikely to obtain a loan from a financial institution, while they take action to improve their long term financial situation either on or off the farm.

Programme extension

The Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2004 proposes a programme extension to 30 June 2008, with applications for income support and the re-establishment grant closing on 30 June 2007. Income support payments will conclude on 30 June 2008, professional advice and training grant expenditure must be finalised by 30 June 2008, and the sale of farm enterprises must be completed by 30 June 2008. Provision has been made in the 2004-05 Budget for residual expenditure of $2 million in 2008-09 to finalise re-establishment grants, advice and training grants and Centrelink delivery costs.

Provision will be made for any further extensions of the Farm Help program (beyond June 2009) to be made by Regulation.

Increasing re-establishment grant

The re-establishment grant will be increased to $50,000 (up from $45,000). This change will be made in the Farm Help Re-establishment Grant Scheme 1997.

Clarifying the process for a person applying for Farm Help income support

Under the revised programme, a person will apply for the advice and training grant (rather than income support) to enable them to obtain advice about their inability to obtain finance and develop an activity plan. These requirements will need to be undertaken prior to any claim for income support or a re-establishment grant.

Undertaking financial assessments

Currently farmers who join the programme are required to arrange a financial assessment of their farm business within three months. Under the enhanced programme, farmers will be required to undertake the financial assessment of their farm business and develop an activity plan before their income support can commence. An adviser, prescribed by a Regulation enabled by the Act, will make an assessment of the farmer's likelihood of accessing further finance, removing the requirement for bank certification.

This amended process is intended to maximise recipients' opportunities to make decisions about their future and to implement change, while they receive income support under the programme for up to twelve months.

The removal of the requirement for a Certificate of Inability to Obtain Finance addresses concerns by banks and their clients that obtaining the Certificate might jeopardise a person's future borrowing arrangements.

Hardship provision

This provision has been included to vary the process for people in severe financial hardship for Farm Help. To qualify for this provision, a person will be an eligible farmer for the purposes of the programme. The liquid assets of a person and their partner at the time of application will be not greater than the total amount of Newstart Allowance that would have been payable in the immediately preceding six weeks if the person were entitled to Newstart Allowance and had no other income.

Hardship provision recipients will be provided with income support for a period of up to three months while they undertake their financial assessment and develop their activity plan. Income support will cease if they have not done this within the three month period. This provision will not require people to sell farm assets. The recipient will then be assessed in order to qualify for the remainder of their income support. Income support which is paid under the hardship provision, will not be an additional period to the twelve months available for income support.

Ensuring mutual obligation through ongoing review

Mutual obligation under the Farm Help programme will be strengthened. It is intended that activity plans will be reviewed quarterly by Centrelink and recipients to ensure that programme recipients are making effective use of programme elements to support informed decision-making and/or improvements in their farm business. In particular, Farm Help recipients will be encouraged to maximise their use of the opportunity to access the professional advice and training grant.

Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act will enable reviews to be conducted of re-establishment grant recipients to determine whether they are complying with their undertaking not to re-enter farming within 5 years of receiving the re-establishment grant. A provision has been included which enables the Australian Government to recover grants where a person has re-entered farming within five years of receiving the grant. This provision is being transferred from the Re-establishment grant instrument.

Suspension of Farm Help

Participants are no longer able to suspend their Farm Help income support to access the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment and then return to Farm Help income support. This is to encourage farmers to approach the programme as an opportunity to gain information and skills that will support a better outcome for them and their families in the long term. This amended process is intended to maximise recipients' opportunities to make decisions about their future and to then implement change, while they receive income support under the programme for up to twelve months.

A farmer is able to apply for Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment after their completion of the Farm Help programme. There is provision to terminate Farm Help income support if a person or their partner is in receipt of an Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment. This removes the possibility of a person or a couple receiving Farm Help income support and the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment at the same time.

Conclusion

The Government remains committed to the development of self-reliant, competitive and sustainable rural industries. It also recognises that there are significant pressures on farmers to remain on the land and that some farmers, often for reasons beyond their control, are unable to keep up with the pace of change.

Passage of this Bill will enable eligible low income farmers coping with change in the farming industry, to have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their future in farming, while giving them financial security and access to advice to make their decision.

It also has a significant emphasis on mutual obligation for people receiving assistance—in terms of making progress to implement decisions in relation to improving their farm business, seeking alternative sources of income, or leaving the industry. The extension of the Farm Help programme and its associated changes will not affect the ongoing Exceptional Circumstances programme. The amendments to create a more effective Farm Help programme are designed to promote earlier decision-making by recipients and emphasise a mutual obligation, with the objective of encouraging adjustment.

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INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS (NOTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT) AMENDMENT (LOW REGULATORY CONCERN CHEMICALS) BILL 2004

The Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment (Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals) Bill 2004 makes a number of changes to the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the Act). The Act establishes a system of notification and assessment of industrial chemicals to protect health, safety and the environment and to provide for registration of certain persons proposing to introduce industrial chemicals. The Department of Health and Ageing portfolio, through the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), administers the Act.

The proposed changes give effect to the Government's response to the recommendations of the Chemicals and Plastics Action Agenda in December 2002. This response indicated the Government's agreement to examine options for flexibility in the assessment processes for industrial chemicals.

The industry has taken the Chemicals and Plastics Action Agenda very seriously and is monitoring government and industry progress in implementing the recommendations through the Chemicals and Plastics Leadership Group. Regulation reform was considered a high priority for the chemicals and plastics industry and the proposed changes will address long-standing industry concerns about the need for more efficient approval processes for industrial chemicals.

The chemicals industry is one of the largest sectors in the world. In Australia in 2000-01 the chemicals and plastics industry contributed $6.9 billion in industry value added with an annual turnover of approximately $24.6 billion (ABS Publication Catalogue 8221.0). Exports in 2000-01 were valued at $3.3 billion and imports at $12.4 billion (ABS Data provided to the Department of Industry Tourism and Resources). Chemicals are integral components of most manufactured and processed primary products. The proposed amendments are aimed at enhancing Australian industry capacity and addressing issues raised by industry in the Chemicals and Plastic Action Agenda, including concerns that the current:

notification and assessment requirements under the Act can result in delays to the introduction into Australia of new chemicals with low hazard and/or low risk;

NICNAS arrangements do not provide enough incentive to industry to encourage the introduction of safer, more environmentally friendly industrial chemicals to the Australian marketplace; and

criteria for the notification and assessment of new chemicals are restrictive and may delay for several months the commercial introduction of an otherwise low risk chemical.

Concerns have also been raised by industry that the Government is not acting quickly enough to introduce the proposed amendments.

The proposed changes to the Act are the result of seven months of collaborative effort on the part of the government, industry and the community. This led to the publication of the Final Report and Recommendations for NICNAS Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals (LRCC) Reform Initiative and the Implementation Strategy for NICNAS Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals (LRCC) Reform Initiative in August 2003. The proposed changes to the Act are based on the recommendations that were agreed during the reform consultation process and recorded in these publications.

The Bill encompasses a package of amendments that must be considered in the context of the entire package. This package delivers reform for industry while protecting existing levels of worker safety, public health and environmental standards.

One of the specific changes proposed in the Bill is the introduction of a new process of audited self-assessment for low regulatory concern chemicals.

The OECD New Chemicals Task Force and the EU have praised the audited self-assessment process as a highly innovative approach and are looking at how it might be adopted within their jurisdictions. Adopting this process within Australia requires amending the Act to allow manufacturers and importers, who are known as introducers under the Act, to self-assess a chemical against criteria and guidelines issued by NICNAS. This will introduce flexibility into the current assessment process for industrial chemicals to enable the fast tracking of low regulatory concern chemicals while maintaining existing levels of worker safety, public health and environmental standards.

The new process for audited self-assessment will include an audited self-assessment certificate for polymers of low concern; non-hazardous chemicals; and other chemicals, or classes of chemicals that are prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of the self-assessment system.

The new self-assessment provisions will be counter-balanced with corresponding penalty provisions under the Act. All holders of self-assessment certificates will be required to keep self-assessment data records for five years; to submit an annual report to NICNAS; and to comply with any notices from NICNAS requiring information relating to self-assessment data. Penalties will be imposed on introducers for breaching any of these requirements.

The changes to the Act also introduce new permit categories for low regulatory concern chemicals and adopt administrative processes for some permit renewals. This includes:

a low hazard permit for chemicals of low volume; and

a permit category for controlled use chemicals.

Changes to the permit system also include expanding the early introduction permit system to cover low hazard and low risk chemicals.

Again, these new provisions will be counter-balanced with corresponding penalty provisions for breaches of permit conditions under the Act.

A range of new exemptions is also proposed for low regulatory concern chemicals. The new exemption categories include:

a Transhipment Exemption for chemicals off-loaded at an Australian port or airport for less than 30 days and kept under the control of Customs before reshipment out of Australia;

an exemption for non hazardous and low hazardous non-cosmetic chemicals of specified volumes;

an exemption for low concentration non-hazardous cosmetic chemicals imported in specified mixtures;

an increase to the current exemption for research, development and analysis and the general exemption for low volume chemicals.

These exemption categories will also be subject to reporting requirements and audits by NICNAS inspectors. It will be an offence to breach any of the exemption requirements and penalties will be incurred as a result.

It is also proposed that the current company registration scheme be extended to cover the broader industrial chemicals industry. Presently, the company registration scheme only covers those who import and/or manufacture industrial chemicals over a certain annual threshold amount, which is currently $500,000 per year. Introducers over this threshold are currently required to register with and pay a company registration charge to NICNAS.

Under the changes, this scheme will be extended to cover all importers and manufacturers of industrial chemicals, regardless of the amount imported and/or manufactured each year. Essentially, this means that all importers and manufacturers of industrial chemicals will be required to register with NICNAS. Introducers below the threshold will continue to be exempt from paying company registration charge and only an annual administration fee ($336) will apply to these introducers. This will only be a minor impost on industry and is necessary because NICNAS is a fully cost recovered scheme.

This proposal for mandatory registration is not controversial and in fact was suggested by industry during the reform consultation period as a way of increasing industry knowledge of NICNAS and compliance with the Act and thereby enhancing community confidence in the chemical industry.

The amendments to the Act also incorporate changes in relation to the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (known as the AICS). The AICS is the legal device that distinguishes new industrial chemicals from existing industrial chemicals in Australia. All chemicals on the AICS are defined as existing chemicals, while industrial chemicals not included in the AICS are defined as new industrial chemicals and must be assessed by NICNAS before they can be introduced, unless exempt under the Act.

Currently, new industrial chemicals are listed on the AICS five years after a certificate is issued by NICNAS. Under the proposed changes, however, the Act would be amended to give certificate holders the option to request that an assessed chemical be included on the AICS immediately, and to allow for the chemical to be listed on the AICS following this request.

Further, the proposed changes give the Director of NICNAS the discretion to put additional details on the AICS. These include details of the assessment of the industrial chemical, details of use, if applicable, and any other conditions.

These amendments will mean that introducers will no longer have to try to envisage what uses their chemicals might be put to in the future because the chemicals will only be able to be introduced for the specific uses where this is applicable. This will prevent chemicals that have been assessed for a particular use, for instance, from being imported or manufactured for a different, un-assessed use, and which could be more harmful to health, safety and the environment.

To ensure compliance with these new provisions, it will be an offence to breach a condition of the AICS and the penalty for this offence will be 120 penalty units.

Finally, it is also proposed that the definition of “cosmetics” under the Act be amended to harmonise it with that used under the Trade Practices legislation. This will improve consistency in the Government's regulatory approach to cosmetics and will align the Australian definition with the European definition of cosmetics.

In summary, there is strong support for all of the proposed amendments. These amendments have been developed in response to industry concerns and in consultation with industry, government and the community. The reforms for fast tracking of assessment processes are counter balanced with enhanced public access to information, increased record keeping requirements and enhanced compliance activity.

The proposed amendments do not change the objects of the Act, but introduce flexibility into the current assessment process for industrial chemicals to enable the fast tracking of low regulatory concern chemicals while maintaining existing levels of worker safety, public health and environmental standards. The Bill constitutes a whole package of amendments, and it is in its entirety that this Bill delivers real reform for industry while protecting health, safety and the environment.

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SUPERANNUATION BUDGET MEASURES BILL 2004

It is with great pleasure that I introduce this bill.

This is a Government that believes in incentives. We believe that all Australians should have the opportunity to obtain a better standard of living in retirement than what the superannuation guarantee and the age pension can achieve alone.

It was this Government that introduced the co-contribution scheme on a $1 for $1 basis for eligible low income earners who make voluntary superannuation contributions.

But we now propose to take it further.

This bill will provide a $2.7 billion boost to superannuation incentives over three years. This builds on the Government's retirement income policy achievements to provide incentives, flexibility and security in retirement.

From 1 July this bill will increase the matching rate to $1.50 per $1 of employee contributions up to a maximum Co-contribution of $1,500. If an eligible person pays $1,000 into superannuation, the Government will match it with up to $1,500.

This bill also increases the lower income threshold, up to which the maximum co-contribution applies, to $28,000. Furthermore, for the first time employees with incomes between $40,000 and $58,000 will become eligible for the co-contribution. Currently the co-contribution phases out completely at $40,000.

These changes will improve retirement savings for over one million Australians who already receive the Co-contribution, even if they do not change their saving behaviour. More importantly, it facilitates a significant improvement in retirement incomes for those willing to save a bit more.

As an example, where a member with a current income for co-contribution purposes of $25,000 makes the minimum level of contributions required to receive the maximum government co-contribution over a 30 year working life, then the member's real accumulation balance is projected to increase by $106,000. This represents an improvement of 86% compared to the balance from Superannuation Guarantee contributions alone.

For someone earning $36,000 (approximately median earnings) and who makes the minimum level of member contributions required to receive the maximum government co-contribution over a 30 year working life, then the member's real accumulation balance is projected to increase by $51,000. This represents an improvement of 28% compared to the balance from Superannuation Guarantee contributions alone

This bill does more than provide a more generous co-contribution scheme. Over the next three years, it will accelerate and further reduce the maximum superannuation contributions surcharge rate to 7.5 per cent for higher income individuals, relative to current scheduled reduction from 15 per cent to 12.5 per cent. More than half a million Australians will receive a boost to their retirement savings as a result of this initiative.

In total these measures are estimated to cost the Government $2.7 billion over the forward estimate years. More than three quarters of the benefits provided by these measures or $2.1 billion are targeted to low and middle income workers.

The measures presented in this bill provide a significant opportunity for employees to improve their standards of living in retirement. It is for this reason that I commend the bill.

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TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (MEDICARE LEVY AND MEDICARE LEVY SURCHARGE) BILL 2004

This bill will increase the Medicare levy low income thresholds for individuals and families in line with increases in the consumer price index. The low income threshold in the Medicare levy surcharge provisions will similarly be increased. These changes will ensure that low income individuals and families will continue not to have to pay the Medicare levy or surcharge.

The bill will also increase the Medicare levy low income threshold for pensioners below age pension age to ensure that where these pensioners do not have a tax liability they will also not have a Medicare levy liability.

The amendments will apply to the 2003-2004 year of income and later years of income.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend this bill.

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TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2004 MEASURES No. 2) BILL 2004

This bill makes amendments to the income tax law and other laws to give effect to several taxation measures.

Firstly, the amendments in Schedule 1 improve the practical operation of the income tax law affecting life insurance companies and ensure that those provisions interact appropriately with other provisions in the income tax law.

Secondly, after listening to the concerns of business, the Government is implementing, in Schedule 2, further measures to give taxpayers greater flexibility and certainty as they move into the new consolidation regime.

As the new consolidation regime has changed the taxation landscape for many corporate groups, the Government has continued its active consultation with business on its implementation.

To further assist business in managing the transition to consolidation, the Government has provided its response to a number of issues raised by business and has provided further detail of how it intends to resolve these issues. A number of measures were announced by the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer on 4 December 2003.

The business community reacted positively to the Minister's announcement, praising the Government for providing greater flexibility to the consolidation regime and stated that the announcement will provide certainty and greater guidance for groups going into consolidation.

The third measure includes amendments to ensure that limited partnerships with legal personality separate from their partners that are established under the venture capital regime are partnerships for income tax purposes, and able to access the venture capital tax concessions.

Schedule 4 allows for continuity of fringe benefits tax treatment for non-remote housing benefits where administration and payment of fringe benefits tax is devolved by State or Territory governments to a departmental level, and there has been no material change in the provision of the benefit.

The fifth measure amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 so that capital gains tax event K6 is not inadvertently triggered by the disposal of new interests in demerged entities. This will ensure that the pre-CGT status of membership interests is fully preserved following a demerger.

Schedule 6 to this bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to ensure that all individuals who make United Medical Protection Limited support payments will be entitled to an income tax deduction for the amount of their contributions in that income year.

Several technical amendments to the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 are made in Schedule 7 to ensure that the GST insurance provisions apply as intended to transactions undertaken by operators of compulsory third party schemes.

Schedule 8 amends the fringe benefits tax law to provide public ambulance services with the same fringe benefits tax treatment as is provided to public hospitals. Public ambulance services will be able to access a fringe benefits tax exemption of up to $17,000 of grossed-up taxable value per employee. They will also be able to access the remote area housing fringe benefits tax exemption under the same criteria as apply to public hospitals. In addition, the income tax law will be amended to allow public ambulance services to be endorsed to receive tax deductible gifts.

The ninth measure includes amendments that give effect to the Government's response to the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation report on the `Taxation of Transfers from Overseas Superannuation Funds'.

The key change will enable a taxpayer who is transferring their overseas superannuation to an Australian complying superannuation fund to elect to have part of the transfer treated as a taxable contribution in the Australian superannuation fund. By doing so the fund, rather than the individual taxpayer, will pay relevant tax arising on the transfer and tax will be paid at the concessional superannuation fund rate rather than at the individual's marginal rate.

This change will overcome the difficulties currently experienced by individuals who are faced with a tax liability but do not have recourse to funds to pay the liability due to the benefits being preserved in the Australian fund until retirement. This change, combined with the fact that the tax will now be payable at the concessional superannuation fund rate, should encourage affected individuals to transfer their overseas superannuation into an Australian fund.

A number of related amendments are also made to improve the operation and clarity of the provisions dealing with payments of overseas superannuation.

Schedule 10 of this bill will amend, as part of the further implementation of the simplified imputation system, Division 207 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 which deals with the tax effect of receiving a franked distribution. The amendments will complete the rules that deal with the receipt of a franked distribution indirectly through a partnership or trust. The amendments will also clarify aspects of the operation of Division 207 and make consequential changes to Division 207 and other parts of the simplified imputation system. In addition, amendments are made to the trans-Tasman imputation rules to implement a minor policy change and ensure consistency with Division 207.

Schedule 11 to this bill makes a number of technical corrections to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

Lastly, Schedule 12 will amend the alienation of personal services income provisions to clarify when the Commissioner of Taxation may provide a personal services business determination to taxpayers. Where the Commissioner grants a personal services business determination, the alienation provisions do not apply to the taxpayer. The amendments will ensure that the original policy intent of the alienation provisions is maintained.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend this bill.

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TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2004 MEASURES No. 3) BILL 2004

This bill amends various taxation laws.

Firstly, this bill introduces amendments to complete the taxation arrangements for the new venture capital regime that was introduced in 2002. The amendments take effect from 1 July 2002, the date the venture capital regime commenced.

The venture capital regime was introduced to encourage new foreign investment into the Australian venture capital market and to further develop the venture capital industry. It provides a tax exemption to eligible non-resident investors on the gains made on eligible equity investments.

The amendments expand the range of venture capital investments that will qualify for the tax concession and remove minor impediments to ensure that the regime operates as intended. The tax concession will now be available for eligible investments that have been made in a holding company of a corporate group. Companies being spun-off from a corporate group or institution may also be eligible as they will be treated independently in determining eligibility for the concession.

This package completes the Government's commitment to establish an internationally competitive framework for venture capital investments. It brings Australia into line with what is currently recognised as `best practice' within the international venture capital market.

Secondly, the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 is amended to extend by one year, the fringe benefits tax exemption transitional arrangements for certain contributions to worker entitlement funds.

Worker entitlement funds provide for employee entitlements such as leave payments or payments when an employee ceases employment. The FBT exemption ensures that these contributions are not taxed twice, once as a fringe benefit when paid into the fund and again as income when paid out of the fund.

While the requirements for the FBT exemption have been in place since 1 April 2003, transitional arrangements ensured that employers who contributed to existing worker entitlement funds according to existing industrial practice were also exempt from FBT until 31 March 2004.

The purpose of the extension of the transitional arrangements is to provide an additional 12 months of security and certainty to employers while they put in place new arrangements to comply with the terms of the FBT exemption.

Finally, following previous amendments to the foreign tax credit provisions, this bill corrects two instances where references to those provisions were no longer correct.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend this bill.

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CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT (FUELS) BILL 2004

Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004 contains amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995. Those amendments were previously tabled in Customs Tariff Proposal Numbers 3, 4 and 5 of 2003 and now require incorporation in the Customs Tariff Act. Complementary changes are being made to the Excise Tariff Act 1921 through the Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004.

First, the Bill provides new differential rates of customs duty for high sulphur diesel, and introduces ultra low sulphur diesel as a new tariff item.

As part of the Measures for a Better Environment package announced by the Prime Minister on 31 May 1999, the Government made a commitment to apply to high sulphur diesel a customs duty of 1 cent per litre on top of the normal diesel rate of 38.143 cents per litre from 1 January 2003, and 2 cents per litre from 1 January 2004. The Government deferred the introduction of the first differential until 1 July 2003 because of concern about the possibility of raising costs to diesel users when the farm sector was facing serious drought conditions.

Customs Tariff Proposal No. 3 (2003), which was introduced in the Parliament on 25 June 2003, gave effect to this commitment.

Secondly, the Bill increases the customs duty on aviation fuels by 0.306 cents per litre to 3.151 cents per litre for aviation kerosene and to 3.114 cents per litre for aviation gasoline from 1 July 2003. This measure was announced in the 2003-04 Budget, and was necessary to provide supplementary funding for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ensure that it is adequately resourced to continue to carry out its safety regulatory responsibilities.

Customs Tariff Proposal No. 4 (2003), which was introduced in the Parliament on 25 June 2003, gave effect to this measure from 1 July 2003.

Thirdly, the Bill amends the Customs Tariff to introduce a customs duty on biodiesel for use as a fuel in an internal combustion engine, from 18 September 2003. The duty will be equal to that currently applying to ultra low sulphur diesel (38.143 cents per litre).

These changes were announced in the 2003-04 Budget and form part of the Government's fuel tax reform arrangements to bring all currently untaxed fuels used in internal combustion engines into the excise and customs duty system.

Customs Tariff Proposal No. 5 (2003), which was introduced in the Parliament on 16 September 2003, gave effect to this measure, from 18 September 2003.

The Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004 contains three Schedules. The above amendments are drafted in both Schedules 1 and 2 of the Bill as the enactment of Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2003, which is awaiting passage through the Senate, impacts on the provisions of this Bill. Schedule 2 of the Fuels Bill will take effect only if Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2003, which validates a Customs Tariff Proposal imposing a customs duty on fuel ethanol, is enacted.

Finally, Schedule 3 of the Bill contains a number of minor consequential Tariff amendments.

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EXCISE TARIFF AMENDMENT (FUELS) BILL 2004

The Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004 contains amendments to the Excise Tariff Act 1921 (Excise Tariff Act).

The amendments contained in the bill have been previously tabled as Excise Tariff Proposals Nos 1, 2, 3 and 4 of 2003. The proposals now require incorporation in the Excise Tariff Act.

This bill contains three Government initiatives: the introduction of excise differentials between diesel with high sulphur content and ultra low sulphur diesel, an increase in excise duty rates for aviation fuels, and imposition of an excise duty on biodiesel.

The Prime Minister announced in Measures for a Better Environment on 31 May 1999 the Government's commitment to apply an excise differential of an additional 1 cent per litre on high sulphur diesel from 1 January 2003 and a further 1 cent per litre differential from 1 January 2004. The first excise differential was deferred until 1 July 2003 because of the Government's concern at the possibility of raising costs to diesel users at a time when the farming sector was facing serious drought conditions. The measure gives effect to the Government's decision to encourage the early introduction of ultra low sulphur diesel which will be mandated by 1 January 2006 under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. The bill amends the Excise Tariff Act to incorporate the excise differentials for high sulphur diesel and similar products with high sulphur content that may be used as diesel substitutes.

An increase in duty on aviation fuels was announced by the Government in the 2003-2004 Federal Budget to provide supplementary funding for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in the financial year 2003-2004. Duties on aviation fuels provide a substantial proportion of funding for CASA, which is estimated to receive 11 per cent less than the forecasted revenue due to reduced world-wide demand for air travel, cessation of Ansett operations and the introduction of larger and more fuel-efficient aircraft. The increase in duties will ensure CASA is adequately resourced to continue its safety regulatory responsibilities and maintain Australia's enviable aviation safety record. Amendments in the bill increase the excise duty rate for aviation kerosene and aviation gasoline by 0.306 cents per litre.

The imposition of excise duty on biodiesel was announced by the Government in the 2003-2004 Federal Budget as part of the Government's broader fuel tax reform arrangements that bring all currently untaxed fuels into the excise and customs duty systems. The reform establishes a broad sustainable taxation framework providing increased certainty for investors as well as establishing a fairer and more transparent fuel excise system with improved competitive neutrality between fuels. Amendments in the Bill incorporate biodiesel into the Excise Tariff and apply an excise duty rate to biodiesel of 38.143 cents per litre, equivalent to ultra low sulphur diesel, from 18 September 2003.

The bill also makes a minor amendment to a formula for calculating excise duty on excisable blended petroleum products to allow deduction of previously paid duties for duty paid components of gasoline/fuel ethanol blends.

This bill is drafted with two Schedules as the passage of the Excise Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2003, pending debate in Parliament, impacts on the provisions of this bill in minor technical references. The second Schedule in the bill is to take effect only if the Excise Tariff Amendment Act (No. 1) 2004 commences.

Complementary changes to the Customs legislation are being addressed through the Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004.

Full details of the measures in the bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill.

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ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT (ACCESS TO ELECTORAL ROLL AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2004

The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Access to Electoral Roll and Other Measures) Bill 2004 contains amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 designed to implement a number of the Government-supported recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters arising from its 23 June 2003 report titled The 2001 federal election. The Committee's Report arose out of a request from myself in May 2003. The Government response to the Committee's report was tabled on 16 October 2003.

Further electoral reform measures are contained in the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2004 which I am also introducing today. The amendments contained in this Bill will improve the operation of the electoral system.

The amendments cover a number of broad areas including enrolment issues, access to the electoral roll and its use; the lead-up to election day including preparations undertaken by the Australian Electoral Commission (the AEC), political parties, candidates and others; the processes for voting; and the operation of polling booths on election day. The major amendments include:

improving public access to the electoral roll;

restructuring the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 relating to entitlement to information contained in the roll to make them more easily understandable;

extending end-use restrictions on roll information and related penalties to all forms of the roll;

removing the roll from sale in any format;

requiring the AEC to publish a statement of reasons for decisions not to register proposed party names;

allowing scrutineers to be present at pre-poll voting centres;

prohibiting broadcasting of political material that is audible within close proximity of polling places;

allowing for the temporary suspension or adjournment of polling for physical and safety reasons; and

clarifying procedures for the nomination of candidates for election to both Houses of Parliament.

Over time, access to the roll has been expanded to include State and Territory electoral authorities, Australian Government agencies, health screening programmes and medical researchers. The forms in which the roll is provided have also evolved to keep pace with technological change. Finally, measures regulating the uses to which roll information can be put have been steadily increased over time. All of these changes have created roll access provisions that are complex, out of date and, in some cases, contradictory.

This Bill will amend the roll access provisions to improve clarity, remove contradiction and improve privacy protections. Access to roll information will be set out in tabular form. The tables will include all information that is currently provided for in the Electoral Act. They list who is entitled to roll information, what information they are entitled to and how often they will receive it. Apart from the printed version of the roll, the amendments will remove all references to the form of the roll from the Electoral Act. This means that the Australian Electoral Commission will be able to keep pace with changes in technology and provide access to roll information in new and more accessible forms such as on the internet. Improved access to the roll will enable people to check their enrolment details.

The amendments will extend the end-use restrictions to all roll information, regardless of form. This measure will close a loophole that has allowed roll information to be used for commercial and other unintended uses, such as direct marketing and debt collection. Finally, the roll will be removed from sale, closing off the means by which people obtain roll information for commercial and other unintended uses. Copies of the roll will be available for inspection at all AEC offices.

The Bill introduces a new accountability mechanism for decisions about party names.

The AEC will be required to provide a written notice of reasons for its decision not to register a party name to the parties to an application for, or objection to, the registration of a party name. The reasons will be provided to all parties of an application for, or objection to, the registration of a party name.

There are a number of improvements to polling administration also in the Bill. The first of these relates to scrutineers. Scrutineers are an essential part of the polling process, a defence against fraud and a guarantee of accountability. However, under the existing provisions of the Electoral Act scrutineers are not permitted to attend pre-poll voting centres. The implications of this are significant in light of the fact that, according to the JSCEM, nearly 600,000 pre-poll votes were cast at the 2001 federal election.

The Bill will amend the Electoral Act and the Referendum Act to allow scrutineers to attend pre-poll voting offices to scrutineer pre-poll voting, improving accountability for all these pre-poll votes.

One of the characteristics of recent elections in Australia is the increasing sophistication candidates bring to canvassing outside polling booths. For example, one innovation examined by the Committee is the use of broadcasting equipment to canvass for votes. While innovative, this form of canvassing may result in the political message being heard in the polling booth, which is against the spirit of the Electoral Act. The Bill amends the Electoral Act and the Referendum Act to prevent the use of broadcasting equipment for canvassing that can be heard within six metres of the entrance to the polling booth, at the entrance to the polling booth, and inside the polling booth.

A further amendment to the Electoral Act and Referendum Act will allow a temporary suspension of polling where there is a threat to the safety of electors or a difficulty in the physical conduct of polling. Currently, polling can be adjourned to another day at a polling place if polling is interrupted by circumstances including violence, storm or flood. However, there is no mechanism for temporarily suspending polling on polling day for these sorts of reasons.

The Bill will allow for such a temporary suspension. The Bill also expands the reasons for which polling can be suspended to include fire and health hazards.

Finally there are a number of minor technical amendments to the Electoral Act and Referendum Act, including:

extending the time an elector living overseas can apply for enrolment from two to three years;

allowing sitting independents to renominate using a single nominee;

streamlining the process of withdrawal of a candidate from a bulk nomination;

removing the requirement for postal votes to be received by the AEC before the close of polls in certain circumstances;

allowing the election results to be attached to the writ, rather than written on the back of it; and

the removal of appeal to the High Court by way of right for injunctions.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

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ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT (ENROLMENT INTEGRITY AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2004

This Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2004 contains amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984, the majority of which arise from the Government-supported electoral reform recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters' report titled The 2001 federal election. The Government response to the JSCEM report was tabled on 16 October 2003.

Further measures arising from the Government-supported recommendations of this report will be implemented in the Electoral and Referendum (Access to the Electoral Roll and Other Measures) Bill 2004. Several measures in this Bill have been carried over from the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Roll Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2002 which is currently before the Parliament. That Bill gave effect to the Government's legislative response to the Committee's report on the 1998 federal election. I propose that debate not proceed on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Roll Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2002.

This Bill also includes the legislation for the Government response to the JSCEM's report on the integrity of the electoral roll, titled User Friendly, Not Abuser Friendly.

The most significant amendments of this Bill include those that will:

outline the principles of new arrangements for proof of identity and address for applicants for enrolment or re-enrolment; applicants wishing to change their enrolled name or address; and electors claiming a provisional vote because their names do not appear on the certified list on election day;

include the sex and date of birth of electors on the certified list as a check on identity when voting;

allow for the close of rolls for new electors to be 6.00 pm on the day on which the writ for an election is issued, and for the close of rolls for those amending their enrolment details to be 8.00 pm three working days after the issue of the writ;

allow political parties and independent members of parliament to be provided with certain information about where electors voted on election day;

provide that prisoners serving a sentence of full-time detention are not allowed to vote;

introduce enrolment based on address rather than subdivision;

prevent scrutineers from actively assisting electors who have requested an assisted vote; and

increase a number of the financial disclosure thresholds to $3,000.

The Government remains committed to preserving and enhancing the integrity of the electoral roll, and believes introduction of new arrangements for proof of identity and address at the point of enrolment will significantly enhance roll integrity and reduce electoral fraud.

The legislation provides for the broad principles of a proof of identity scheme, with regulations to prescribe the arrangements. The regulations will be developed in consultation with the State and Territory Governments. Privacy issues will be taken into account in the development of the regulations.

In its response to the Committee's report on the 2001 federal election, the Government indicated that it favoured the use of a driver's licence number to verify an applicant's identity and address when enrolling or changing enrolment details. The driver's licence number would be included on the enrolment form, with the AEC checking the details from records on State and Territory databases or from details provided by the States and Territories.

Alternate forms of acceptable identification documentation, to be prescribed in the regulations, could be provided by applicants who do not have a driver's licence. Where no identification documentation was available, only people in a prescribed class would be able to provide written references supporting an enrolment application.

Developing the scheme in consultation with the States and Territories will facilitate preservation of the joint roll arrangements and enable access to information databases.

Similar requirements for proof of identity and address will be introduced for provisional voters whose names do not appear on the certified list on polling day. Implementation of these measures will provide a further important check on identity fraud at the point of voting.

The inclusion of electors' sex and date of birth on the certified lists used on polling day will provide another important check on identity fraud at the point of voting. The new arrangements will give the presiding officer in each polling booth the discretion to ask electors questions about their sex and date of birth in cases where the presiding officer has some doubt about the identity of the elector, based on the information on the certified list. As a measure to prevent any potential disenfranchisement of voters, where the presiding officer continues to have doubts about the elector's identity following the answers to the questions, the elector will be able to cast a provisional vote.

As a further measure to preserve the integrity of the electoral roll, amendments to allow for the close of rolls for new electors to be 6.00 pm on the day on which the writ is issued, and for the close of rolls for those amending their enrolment to be 8.00 pm three working days after the issue of the writ will ensure that the Australian Electoral Commission has sufficient time to verify details provided by applicants for enrolment. The Government remains committed to the introduction of the early close of the roll.

The Government considers that these, and other measures in the Bill, are important and urgent reforms to the electoral process, which should be implemented as soon as possible.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

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MEDICAL INDEMNITY (RUN-OFF COVER SUPPORT PAYMENT) BILL 2004

This bill imposes the run-off cover support payment as a levy on the premium income received by insurers for medical indemnity cover.

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MEDICAL INDEMNITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (RUN-OFF COVER INDEMNITY AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2004

This bill, together with the Medical Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2004, gives effect to the final element of the Government's medical indemnity package, announced on 17 December 2003.

This last element will provide a Government guaranteed Run-off Cover Scheme to provide secure insurance for doctors once they have retired against compensation claims arising from their previous work. Eligible doctors will not have to pay for this cover once they have retired. The Run-off Cover Scheme will cover the cost of medical indemnity claims for eligible doctors notified from 1 July 2004.

The Government has made a substantial investment in the long-term affordability of premiums for doctors so they can continue to practise with security. Of course, security of cover for doctors also provides security for patients.

The Run-off Cover Scheme resulted from the recommendations of the Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel. The role of the Panel, which included senior members of the medical profession, was to recommend ways for ensuring an affordable medical indemnity insurance system that would allow doctors to continue to practise with certainty.

Doctors made it clear to the Panel that one of their main concerns about medical indemnity insurance was the need to maintain insurance cover for the possibility of any claims made against them after they retire or leave the medical workforce. Many doctors were worried that they would find it difficult to continue to pay for insurance after leaving work. Some groups said that the high cost of retirement cover meant that they felt pressured to continue to work past the point at which it was safe for them to do so.

The need to purchase insurance in retirement is an outcome of claims-made insurance, under which claims will only be covered if the doctor had current insurance both when the incident giving rise to the claim occurred and when the claim is notified. Under claims-incurred cover, which will meet a claim if the doctor is covered at the time of the incident, the need for retirement cover does not arise.

While the medical indemnity sector had been moving away from claims-incurred cover for some time, the introduction of APRA supervision of the sector in mid 2003 and the lack of claims incurred reinsurance in the market led to all medical indemnity cover from that point on being offered on a claims-made basis.

During consultations with the medical profession it became evident that older doctors who were used to claims-incurred insurance had not made financial provision to maintain claims made cover once they retired. Even for younger doctors, the need to save throughout their working lives to pay for insurance through their retirement—without any certainty about the level of premiums in retirement—was a very significant concern.

The Government had always intended to resolve the retirement cover issues as part of its broader medical indemnity package. Initially, the Government made sure through regulations under the Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003 that doctors would have access to run-off cover for six years after they retired or left the private medical workforce. This was an interim measure while the Government, the profession and the insurers worked together on a long term solution.

This process fed into the deliberations of the Medical Indemnity Policy Review Panel and led to its proposal for a Run-off Cover Scheme to provide the long term solution that doctors need.

The Scheme will be established by making amendments to:

the Medical Indemnity Act 2002 to set out the eligibility criteria for Run-off Cover Scheme and the payment arrangements for associated claims; and

the Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003 to require all medical indemnity insurers to grant indemnity to doctors who are eligible for the Run-off Cover Scheme at no cost to the doctors.

The basic design of the Scheme is that insurers will grant eligible doctors an indemnity, which will be deemed to be a contract of insurance for most purposes.

As claims against those doctors emerge they will be managed and met by the insurers.

The Government will then reimburse the insurers for the costs of the claims.

The Government has also agreed to pick up through the Scheme the incurred but not reported claims against eligible doctors arising from their period of claims-incurred cover with a medical defence organisation.

Under the eligibility criteria for the scheme some doctors will be covered permanently and others will leave when their circumstances change. The following practitioners will be covered by the Scheme:

retirees over the age of 65 or more who have declared that they have retired permanently from the private workforce; or

doctors who are permanently disabled; or

those who are under 65 years of age and have not engaged in private medical practice for 3 years (this group can include those who have retired before the age of 65, and those no longer practising medicine, or are working solely in the public sector ); or

those who are on maternity leave; or

those who have died (provided that a claim can still be made against the doctor's estate).

There will also be a capacity for new groups of doctors to be included in the Scheme by way of regulations including temporary resident doctors who have left Australia permanently to become eligible for the Run-off Cover Scheme immediately on leaving Australia.

Doctors who already meet the qualifying criteria will be eligible for cover from the Run-off Cover Scheme for claims notified on or after 1 July 2004. Other doctors will become eligible over time.

Doctors won't have to apply for cover under the Scheme. Insurers will be obliged to issue a contract when they are aware that the doctor is eligible.

Under the Scheme the scope of doctors' cover will be determined by the last cover they purchased during their working lives to cover incidents which occurred while they were practising. This arrangement should provide doctors with a seamless transition into the Scheme once they are no longer practising.

However, if a doctor returns to the private medical workforce then he or she is no longer eligible for the Scheme in respect of new claims notified after his or her return to private medical work.

As not all doctors who cease private practice will immediately meet the eligibility criteria for Run-off Cover Scheme, the Government will also amend the Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003 and its associated regulations so that insurers will provide run-off cover to doctors not eligible for the Scheme who require run-off cover for at least three years `at cost'.

The Government will also contract with insurers to provide run-off cover at nominal cost to doctors who have been members or policy holders for ten years or more and who are not eligible for the Run-off Cover Scheme.

Medical indemnity insurers will contribute to the cost of the Scheme by an annual charge on their individual gross insurance premium incomes. This charge will be set as a tax in the Medical Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2004, which forms part of the package of bills presented here today.

The upper limit of the rate of tax is set in the bill before you. This is simply a default rate, to allow some scope to respond to changing circumstances over time. I propose to put forward regulations to the Executive Council which would set a lower rate of 8.5% from 1 July 2004. This lower rate reflects the estimated total cost of the cohort of doctors entering the scheme each year as they retire.

Most medical indemnity insurers will be able to provision for their payment to this Scheme from 1 July 2004 as their premium cycles run on a financial year basis. Their run-off cover support payment will be due at the end of each financial year.

To take account of one insurer collecting premiums on a calendar year basis, I propose to put forward regulations which will provide for it to be taxed at the end of a calendar year. As the first year for which the insurer will be taxed will be 2005, I also propose that it be taxed at a rate 1.0625% higher than other insurers for the first four years of the scheme. This will ensure that the insurer makes an equivalent contribution to other insurers to the cost of the scheme, even though it will not be taxed for the first six months of the 2004-05 financial year. Its members will already be eligible for the Run-off Cover Scheme from 1 July 2004.

Representatives of the medical profession have told the Government how important the Run-off Cover Scheme is and also appreciates that this tax will be applied proportionately and transparently to premiums paid by practising doctors. I acknowledge the support and assistance of the medical profession as the Government has developed this aspect of its medical indemnity package.

The Government is also very aware of doctors' needs for both transparency in financial transactions and security of insurance cover in their retirement. The Government has responded to these concerns in two significant ways in its design of the run-off cover scheme.

First, medical indemnity insurers will have to include information on doctors' premium invoices which shows the gross premium payable by the doctor and that proportion and amount of the premium which the insurer will pass on to the Government under the Run-off Cover Support Payment Scheme.

Secondly, the Government will provide a money-back guarantee to working doctors, if the Run-off Cover Scheme were ever terminated in the future before they became eligible for the scheme without an equivalent Government scheme being provided. The Government will refund these doctors their implicit contribution to the Run-off Cover Support Payment made by insurers, plus interest. The refund will be paid at the direction of individual doctors for the purpose of purchasing alternative medical indemnity insurance.

These arrangements show the Government's clear commitment to transparent, secure arrangements for medical indemnity insurance.

To make sure that there is a seamless transition between the Run-off Cover Scheme the Government will also refine aspects of its existing Exceptional Claims Scheme. Under the proposed changes the Exceptional Claims Scheme will be able to pay claims against doctors for claims arising from treatment of public patients in public hospitals where the doctors were covered by a medical indemnity provider at the time of the incident giving rise to the claim. Such claims are presently excluded from the Exceptional Claims Scheme.

As a result of the amendments proposed in the bill a retired doctor who was once covered for such claims under “claims made” discretionary cover with a medical defence organisation would not be personally liable for amounts in excess of the limit of their Run-off Cover Scheme contract.

The Government is also aware that doctors continue to be concerned about their personal exposure to exceptional claims in relation to services they provide when accompanying sporting teams or cultural groups. The Government has responded to these concerns by introducing regulation-making provisions in this bill to widen the scope of the Exceptional Claims Scheme. I propose to put forward regulations extending the scope of the Exceptional Claims scheme to overseas treatment by doctors in these circumstances.

The Run-off Cover Scheme is good news for doctors. Together with the Exceptional Claims Scheme, and the Government's continued work with the States and Territories on the implementation of tort law reform, this Scheme will allow doctors to continue to practise with security into the future, and security when they retire. This is essential for the maintenance of health services and the protection of patients.

The Scheme demonstrates the Government's commitment to doctors to support them in the vitally important services they provide to the Australian community.

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SUPERANNUATION LAWS AMENDMENT (2004 MEASURES No. 1) BILL 2004

The Superannuation Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 1) Bill 2004 will amend the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003.

The Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 provides a matching Government co-contribution of up to $1,000 for personal superannuation contributions made by qualifying individuals. This measure was first announced in the Government's 2001 election statement A Better Superannuation System.

This bill alters the eligibility criteria in the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to extend the Government co-contribution to more low income earners.

Individuals will no longer be required to be employer superannuation supported to qualify for the Government co-contribution. Rather, this criterion will be replaced with a requirement to have 10 per cent or more of their total income as an employee. This change will apply from 1 July 2003.

To prevent `double dipping', the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 will be amended to ensure that people entitled to a co-contribution cannot also claim a tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions. However, this will only be done in the 2004-05 and subsequent income years to avoid any retrospective effect on these new Government co-contribution recipients.

The bill will also make a number of administrative and technical amendments to ensure the smooth operation of the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003.

The bill will amend the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to specify a timeframe in which providers must repay uncredited co-contribution amounts, and a further period of time after which providers will become liable to pay the General Interest Charge.

The bill will also amend the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to provide that, where the information is available, the Minister will report, on an aggregated and annual basis, on the numbers of co-contribution beneficiaries and spouses of beneficiaries, within prescribed income ranges.

The bill also makes some technical amendments to specify the interest rate that will apply to late payments made by the Commissioner of Taxation in the Superannuation (Government Co-contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003, and inserts a previously omitted definition.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend this bill.

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SUPERANNUATION LAWS AMENDMENT (2004 MEASURES No. 2) BILL 2004

This bill implements a number of superannuation measures.

The Government has significantly improved the retirement income system since being elected in 1996. With the ageing population, the retirement income system needs to be more flexible and adaptable. On 25 February 2004 the Treasurer announced a number of Government initiatives to enhance the retirement income system by further broadening the availability of superannuation and making it more adaptable to changing work arrangements. The amendments contained in this bill relate to a number of the announced initiatives and will:

simplify the Superannuation Guarantee earnings base arrangements;

remove the requirement for prescribed pension providers to obtain an actuary's certificate; and

introduce an integrity measure to require those under age 18 to satisfy a work test in order to claim a tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions.

The bill also aligns the portability time frame applying to retirement savings account providers with that of superannuation providers. The bill also contains a technical amendment to correct a cross-referencing error in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 relating to the cancelling of Registrable Superannuation Entity licenses.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend this bill.

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TOURISM AUSTRALIA BILL 2004

Introduction

The Tourism Australia Bill implements a key element of the Australian Government's medium to long term strategy for tourism, the Tourism White Paper. The development of a tourism strategy is an important 2001 election commitment of the Coalition.

Over the last decade, tourism has become a major global industry. In response, nations are recognising the potential economic contribution tourism offers, and are becoming increasingly competitive. Governments are restructuring their tourism agencies to maximise their investment in tourism. As international competition intensifies, it is important that Australia maintains and cements its competitive market position.

The benefits of tourism go beyond the generation of sustainable economic activity. International travel builds tolerance and understanding of different cultures, and is a significant contributor to peaceful international relations.

Travel by Australians within Australia strengthens our understanding of our history, our Indigenous heritage, our unique and diverse culture, and our outstanding natural environment. Travel binds us together as a nation. While these benefits are harder to measure than economic output, the Australian Government believes that they are, at least, equally important reasons for government support of the tourism industry.

The Tourism White Paper is the result of an unprecedented partnership between Government and the tourism industry. It provides a comprehensive framework to grow tourism in a sustainable manner. With an extra $235 million behind the White Paper, the Australian Government's total tourism spend over the next four years will exceed $600 million.

The White Paper has two strategic elements. Firstly, we want to encourage more international visitors and Australians to go beyond the metropolitan areas and discover regional and rural Australia. Secondly, we want them to have the best experiences through the best products. The aim is to develop Australia as a `Platinum Plus' destination, one that is a market leader in quality and value. This is a key factor in maintaining and increasing our world share of tourism exports.

The Tourism White Paper provides the basis for structural reform of key tourism agencies. It will also provide a platform to maximise the Australian Government's investment in tourism.

The purpose of this Bill is the establishment of a new tourism body, Tourism Australia. This is a key plank of the Government's reform agenda for tourism. Tourism Australia will encompass the functions of the Australian Tourist Commission, See Australia, the Tourism Forecasting Council and the Bureau of Tourism Research, plus a new unit, Tourism Events Australia.

Since its creation by the Coalition Government in 1967, the Australian Tourist Commission has been responsible for promoting Australia overseas. Through an effective partnership model with industry, it has been instrumental in doubling Australia's international visitors since the early 1990s. The successful elements of the Australian Tourist Commission Act 1987 have been incorporated into the Tourism Australia legislation.

See Australia is a private company which receives significant funding from the Australian Government. Its main role is to encourage Australians to travel in Australia through generic tourism promotion, such as the `Go on. Get out there' campaign.

The Bureau of Tourism Research is the main source of tourism related statistical and research information in Australia. Its key publications are the International and National Visitor Surveys, which provide information about the characteristics and travel behaviour of international visitors and Australian residents. The Tourism Forecasting Council was established by the Australian Government to provide consensus forecasts of Australian tourism activity.

This Bill will bring together these vital mechanisms for delivery of the Government's support for tourism into a coherent body which will give strong leadership for the growth and development of the tourism industry. Tourism Australia will have a broad range of responsibilities including support for international and domestic marketing and market development, events and business tourism, and the provision of key tourism research, statistics and analysis.

A key aspect of Tourism Australia's international and promotional activity will be the new branding of Australia. This is a unique opportunity to bring together all aspects of Australian life, from the arts and sport right through to agriculture and business exports. With this new branding we can promote Australia in a holistic sense.

A great example of this is the Australian wine industry. Australia sells more than 1000 bottles of wine every minute outside of our country. Significant benefits for regional Australia will flow if we can turn each bottle of wine into a liquid postcard of Australia. In marketing terms, this presents an excellent leveraging opportunity.

Background

Tourism makes a substantial contribution to the Australian economy. In 2001-02, tourism was directly responsible for 4.5 per cent of Australia's GDP, 549,000 jobs or 5.9 per cent of all employed, and $17.1 billion in export earnings or 11.2 per cent of total exports.

Tourism contributes to the preservation of the environment and heritage by placing an economic value on them, and to significant job creation, especially in rural and remote communities. It is an excellent vehicle for advancing the Government's economic, social and environmental objectives, particularly in regional Australia.

Over the past few years, the Australian tourism industry has endured the adverse impacts of a series of international events. These events challenged the capacity of the industry to maintain sustained tourism growth and respond quickly and effectively to major incidents. The Tourism White Paper contains a number of initiatives directed towards enhancing the tourism industry's capacity to be more flexible in responding to future shocks. The establishment of Tourism Australia is a key element in achieving this objective.

Major Features

Tourism Australia will be established as a statutory body subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act). This recognises the commercial focus of the new body and the need for it to operate flexibly in a commercial environment.

An important consideration in establishing Tourism Australia as an independent body is to allow it to engage more actively on a commercial basis with industry. This includes actively seeking industry's contribution to marketing and promotional campaigns. In carrying out its functions, Tourism Australia will also work closely with State and Territory tourism agencies, regional tourism organisations and other key stakeholders. Tourism Australia will have additional resources to better forecast emerging trends in the global tourism market and therefore to maximise returns on government investment and Australia's growth potential.

The Functions of Tourism Australia

The new organisation will help to foster a prosperous and sustainable tourism industry in Australia. Tourism Australia will harness the skills and knowledge of four key national tourism organisations under one umbrella. Amalgamation of these entities into one body will help improve coordination and effectiveness in achieving the Australian Government's vision of a strong and vibrant Australian tourism industry.

The principal objects of Tourism Australia are to influence people to travel to, and within Australia, including for events. This includes both international and domestic visitors. Tourism Australia will also help to foster a sustainable tourism industry in Australia, and will help to increase the economic benefits to Australia from tourism.

It is vital that Australia is highly competitive in tourism marketing and promotion to ensure potential tourists, both domestic and international, increasingly consider and choose Australia as their next holiday destination, or business or event location.

Tourism Australia will develop strategies to promote growth in the number of international and domestic visitors, and maximise yield from those visitors. Tourism Australia will seek to achieve this through developing marketing and promotional strategies that position Australia as a market leader in quality and value, raising awareness of Australia's unique attributes, and strategically marketing Australia to key markets.

It is recognised that many regional areas of Australia have a growing reliance on tourism for generating business activity and jobs, especially in the small to medium sized business sector. Tourism Australia will encourage international and domestic visitors to travel throughout Australia, to ensure that tourism contributes strongly to the economic wellbeing of regional Australia.

Tourism Australia will help guide the development of tourism product in regional areas, helping to ensure that products and services correspond with visitor demand, and develop strategies to encourage the dispersal of international visitors throughout Australia. Tourism Australia will also promote the benefits of holidays to Australians, and of exploring their own country.

Significant economic benefits can be gained from the staging of events, not only for the tourism industry, but also for the businesses which indirectly benefit from tourism, and the broader community. Tourism Australia will establish a special events unit called Tourism Events Australia. This unit will work with State and Territory governments to maximise the return on investment associated with attracting and staging international events in Australia.

Timely and accurate data and research is vital to the Australian tourism industry and government. It provides a foundation for informed decision making and underpins strategic business planning, including new product development, and also helps in public policy planning. Tourism Australia, through a business unit, Tourism Research Australia, will provide an enhanced research and statistical base, which will cater better for the needs of industry and government. Tourism Research Australia will work with State and Territory tourism agencies to ensure better access to research for tourism businesses, particularly in regional areas.

Structure of the Board and Appointment of Members

The Tourism Australia Bill 2004 provides for the establishment of a Board of Directors of Tourism Australia, comprising a Chair, a Deputy Chair, a government member, the Managing Director and four other members. Appointments to the Board will be based on skills in one or more areas, including tourism and related industries, corporate governance, marketing and promotion, regional development, environmental management and financial and business management.

The Board of Tourism Australia will provide direction and set policy for this new organisation. It will also determine the structure of Tourism Australia, incorporating industry and government views.

The Board of Tourism Australia will also have the power to establish advisory panels. The panels will advise the Board of Tourism Australia on key issues like international and domestic tourism, research and events. Panel members will be drawn from across tourism and broader industries, government and/or academia. These panels will play an important role in ensuring stakeholder involvement in maximising tourism's contribution to the economy and our society.

Corporate Planning and Accountability

As with all Australian Government bodies, Tourism Australia will be required to be accountable for its activities. This Bill requires close and effective communication between Tourism Australia and its Minister, particularly during the reporting and planning processes. This includes the requirement to provide the Minister with a three year corporate plan and an annual operational plan.

Tourism Australia will be required to produce an annual report consistent with its obligations under the CAC Act. The annual report will also include additional matters required under this Bill, such as an assessment against performance indicators, the extent to which operations have achieved objectives in the operational plan, and any joint activities undertaken by Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia will employ staff by virtue of a power in this enabling legislation. This allows maximum employment flexibility and efficiency in employment arrangements in line with the strong commercial role of Tourism Australia. Tourism Australia staff will be required to adopt a set of values and a code of conduct, ensuring responsible and ethical work practices. Details regarding the movement of staff into the new body will be covered in a transitional arrangements Bill to be introduced in the Winter Sittings.

The Future

This Bill, the Tourism Australia Bill 2004, implements significant structural reform designed to enhance the future of Australian tourism. It represents the consolidation of four key tourism organisations into one body, which will maximise the impact of the Australian Government's investment in our tourism industry.

The new body signals a more focussed and mature approach, including a change from relying on strategies based on volume to strategies based on yield and profitability. Tourism Australia will provide the foundation to position Australia as a world leader in the provision of tourism goods and services.

The formation of Tourism Australia is one of a series of initiatives outlined in the Tourism White Paper, which was the culmination of an extensive consultation process and was extremely effective in bringing the tourism industry together, and focussing attention on strategies for the future.

I have consulted with the Industry Implementation Advisory Group, which is a body comprising industry and government representatives established to advise the Government on the implementation of the Tourism White Paper initiatives, and the principles in the Tourism Australia Bill 2004 have met with their support. I have also received valuable advice from the Structural Reform Group, which I established to oversee the transition of the four existing bodies into Tourism Australia, on specific elements of this Bill. I would like to thank both groups for their significant input.

Tourism Australia will build on the relationships formed with industry and State and Territory governments, during the Tourism White Paper process, to ensure that the Australian tourism industry meets its growth potential, and becomes an even more significant contributor to Australia's economic growth.

I commend this Bill.

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TOURISM AUSTRALIA (REPEAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2004

The Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004 is an adjunct to the Tourism Australia Bill 2004, which provides for the establishment of Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia is the key initiative of the Howard Government's Tourism White Paper. Tourism Australia will harness the skills of four of Australia's key tourism bodies under one umbrella, and is integral in the delivery of a number of the Tourism White Paper initiatives. A smooth transition of these bodies into Tourism Australia will ensure that the Australian tourism industry can capitalise on the upcoming launch of Brand Australia and the 2004-05 Budget initiatives such as aviation and border security, transport measures, Commonwealth Games funding, the boost to Regional Partnership Program, income tax cuts and tax reductions for the wine industry.

The Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004 has two main objectives. First, this Bill repeals the Australian Tourist Commission Act 1987.

Second, this Bill puts in place arrangements to assist the transfer of the undertakings and employees of the Australian Tourist Commission; the undertakings of the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council, and particular assets associated with See Australia into Tourism Australia.

Consultation Process

The Tourism White Paper was the culmination of a process that was characterised by an unprecedented level of industry and government partnership.

First stage in this process was the release of The 10 Year Plan for Tourism: A Discussion Paper in May 2002. The paper was accessed by 42 000 people. Consultations were held at approximately 30 locations around the country with a diverse range of industry sectors and interest groups resulting in 270 written submissions.

This process fed into the Tourism Green Paper, which was released in June 2003. It was the first time a nationally-focused draft strategic plan had been informed by a coordinated whole-of-industry response, through the Tourism Industry Forum—a collaborative forum of key industry associations.

The Tourism Green Paper was accessed by over 90 000 people and prompted an additional 155 written responses, which came from the widest possible range of governments, tourism operators and industry associations.

The feedback from stakeholders was of considerable assistance to the Government in the development of the Tourism White Paper, which was launched on 20 November 2003. The release of this paper was the fulfilment of a Coalition election commitment to develop a medium to long term strategy for tourism.

As part of the Tourism White Paper, the Australian Government seeks to strengthen relationships between governments, within government and with the tourism industry. A number of groups have been established to help implement initiatives in the Tourism White Paper, including a Tourism Australia Structural Reform Group, which was formed to provide advice on the establishment of Tourism Australia.

An Industry Implementation Advisory Group comprising representatives from key national tourism organizations and State and Federal tourism bodies was also established to advise the Government on the implementation of White Paper initiatives and to provide feedback to their members.

Like the Tourism Australia Bill 2004, this Bill has been prepared in consultation with the Tourism Australia Structural Reform Group, and the Industry Implementation Advisory Group and has the support of both groups.

Overview of Bill

The Australian Tourist Commission is a statutory body corporate continued in existence under the Australian Tourist Commission Act 1987. On repeal of this Act, the Australian Tourist Commission will cease to exist. Provisions in the Bill will be used to effect the seamless transfer of the assets, liabilities, contracts and employees of the Australian Tourist Commission to Tourism Australia without the need for any conveyance, transfer or assignment.

The Bureau of Tourism Research and Tourism Forecasting Council are administrative bodies within the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. Provisions are included in the Bill to effect the transfer, via Ministerial declaration, of the assets, liabilities and contracts of the Commonwealth which relate to the activities of the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council to Tourism Australia.

The Australian Government will transfer ownership of intellectual property which relates to the activities of the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council to Tourism Australia. Commonwealth owned tourism trade marks, currently licensed for use by See Australia Limited, will also be transferred to Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia will employ staff by virtue of its enabling legislation. The Bill makes provision for the employees of the Australian Tourist Commission (other than the Managing Director) to become employees of Tourism Australia at the commencement day. Employees will be engaged by Tourism Australia on the same terms and conditions as they are currently employed by the Australian Tourist Commission. The service of a transferred employee as an employee of Tourism Australia will also be taken to have been continuous with the service of the employee as an employee of the Australian Tourist Commission.

Employees of the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council will be transferred to Tourism Australia using mechanisms prescribed in section 72 of the Public Service Act 1999. Section 72 provides that transferred employees are entitled to remuneration and other conditions of employment that are not less favourable than the terms and conditions to which they are entitled under their current awards.

See Australia staff will be employed on an offer and acceptance basis.

New and transferring employees of Tourism Australia will able to become or continue as members of Public Sector Superannuation Scheme. Current members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme will also be able to continue as members.

In the event that there is insufficient time to appropriately identify and appoint the full Tourism Australia Board prior to Tourism Australia's commencement date, the Bill contains provisions to amend the quorum requirements for meetings of the Board of Tourism Australia during this interim period. This will allow the appointment of an Interim Board.

These provisions have been included in the Bill to ensure continuity of operation in light of the immediate decisions which will need to be made for Tourism Australia, and to ensure that the organisation continues to contribute positively to tourism in Australia.

The Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004 provides the mechanism for a smooth start to a new era in Australian tourism.

The four organisations coming together to form Tourism Australia will benefit significantly from being under the one umbrella, with improved coordination and focus. The bringing together of the research functions will more effectively complement the marketing, investment and product development effort of the public and private sectors.

The preparation of this Bill has involved a significant number of people whom we would like to thank.

First, we would like to thank the hundreds of Australians from across the tourism industry who so enthusiastically participated in the nationwide consultations during the development of the Tourism Green Paper and the Tourism White Paper.

Second, we would like to thank the Structural Reform Group, chaired by Mr Tony Clark AM, which has invested considerable time and effort in advising on key aspects of the Bills. We greatly appreciate their efforts.

Third, we would like to thank the Industry Implementation Advisory Group for its advice and guidance on ensuring that the legislation meets industry needs. The Australian tourism industry will be a primary client of Tourism Australia and it is crucial that it meets industry needs.

Finally, we would like to thank officers in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, particularly the Industry Strategy Team in Tourism Division for their efforts in preparation of the Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004 and Tourism Australia Bill 2004.

I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Senator Buckland) adjourned.

Ordered that the resumption of the debate be an order of the day for a later hour of the day.

Ordered that the bills be listed on the Notice Paper as follows:

To be listed on the Notice Paper as separate orders:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Bill 2004

Anti-terrorism Bill 2004

Bankruptcy Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (to be listed with the Bankruptcy (Estate Charges) Amendment Bill 2004)

Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill 2004

Family and Community Services and Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Income Streams) Bill 2004

Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2004

Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment (Low Regulatory Concern Chemicals) Bill 2004

Superannuation Budget Measures Bill 2004

Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy and Medicare Levy Surcharge) Bill 2004

Tax Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 2) Bill 2004

Tax Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 3) Bill 2004

To be listed on the Notice Paper as packages:

Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004

Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuels) Bill 2004

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Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Access to Electoral Roll and Other Measures) Bill 2004

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2004

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Medical Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2004

Medical Indemnity Legislation Amendment (Run-off Cover Indemnity and Other Measures) Bill 2004

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Superannuation Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 1) Bill 2004

Superannuation Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 2) Bill 2004

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Tourism Australia Bill 2004

Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004