Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 7 March 2005
Page: 84


Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (5:26 PM) —I table a revised explanatory memorandum relating to the Tax Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 7) Bill 2005 and 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—

AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY BILL 2004

The Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004 establishes a new regulatory authority for communications, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA). The ACMA replaces the Australian Broadcasting Authority (the ABA) and the Australian Communications Authority (the ACA).

The formation of the ACMA is a response to convergence within the communications industry. Digital technologies are reshaping traditional telecommunications and broadcasting industry sectors by allowing new types of devices and services, which in turn create new market opportunities. Businesses are being forced to respond by restructuring the ways they do business, their offerings to their customers, and their relationships with other businesses. Consumers have significantly different expectations about the types of services available, their costs and availability than they did a decade ago.

New regulatory structures are required to deal with these changes. It is becoming increasingly difficult for two separate regulators, one of which is primarily focused on infrastructure and carriage issues, and the other focused chiefly on content issues, to provide a holistic response to convergence. The establishment of the ACMA will enable a coordinated regulatory response to converging technologies and services. The new authority will be better placed to take a strategic view of wider convergence issues.

Benefits to industry will include a reduction in duplication in the compliance process with improvements in the coordination of regulatory functions. A single authority will be better placed to coordinate telecommunications and broadcasting issues in international fora such as the International Telecommunications Union. In addition, a single authority will have the potential to manage resources to enable a timely response to periods of high demand for spectrum planning, and create enhanced opportunities to attract and retain staff and to broaden staff expertise.

The bill establishes the ACMA, and specifies its functions. These functions will essentially be the functions currently undertaken by the ABA and ACA.

The ACMA’s telecommunications functions will include the regulation of telecommunications in accordance with the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. It will also undertake other functions as specified in other legislation, such as the regulation of spam, carrier licence charges, numbering charges, and functions specified under Part XIC of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACMA’s spectrum management functions will include the management of the radiofrequency spectrum in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act 1992, and to undertake other functions such as those provided for in legislation relating to radiocommunications licence fees and taxes.

The ACMA will also have broadcasting, content and datacasting functions. These will include the regulation of broadcasting services, Internet content and datacasting services in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The ACMA’s other broadcasting and related functions include those provided for in legislation relating to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service, interactive gambling, and the collection of radio, television and other licence fees.

The ACMA will also have additional functions which do not fall within the above three categories, including functions relating to electronic addressing.

The Minister will be able to direct the ACMA, in writing, in relation to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers. However, consistent with the existing directions power applying to the ABA, a direction that relates to the ACMA’s broadcasting, datacasting or content functions and the powers relating to those functions may only be general in nature.

The ACMA will comprise a full time Chair, a full time Deputy Chair, and from 1 to 7 other members who can be either full or part time. Members are to be appointed by the Governor-General. Each term of membership is to be up to 5 years. Members may be reappointed, provided the total term of membership does not exceed 10 years.

The bill also allows the Minister to appoint associate members to undertake specified matters such as inquiries, investigations and hearings.

The ACMA will be a body corporate, which may sue and be sued in its own name. The ACMA will have powers to do all things necessary or convenient for or in connection with the performance of its functions but it will not have the power to acquire, hold or dispose of real or personal property, and it will not be able to enter into contracts.

In the interests of sound financial accountability and in recognition that the ACMA will be a publicly funded body which collects taxes on behalf of the Commonwealth, the members and staff of the ACMA will be a prescribed agency for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Chair of the ACMA will be Chief Executive of the agency for the purposes of that Act. The Chair of the ACMA, and members and staff acting under delegations from the Chair, will be able to enter into contracts on behalf of the Commonwealth (for example, a consultancy contract).

The staff of the ACMA will be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999, and the Chair will be the Head of the statutory agency under that Act.

The ACMA will be able to hold such meetings as are necessary for the efficient performance of its functions. A quorum will be a majority of the members.

The ACMA will also be able to establish Divisions. It must determine the matters that a Division may deal with and will have power to delegate any of its functions to a Division. The ACMA, or a Division of the ACMA, may also delegate some of its functions to a member, an associate member, member of ACMA’s staff or certain other persons. However, the ACMA or a Division cannot delegate powers to make, vary or revoke legislative instruments or powers to do certain things under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 such as the power to impose conditions on certain broadcasting licences.

The ACMA will be required to prepare a corporate plan at least once a year and provide it to the Minister. The ACMA will also be required to prepare an annual report for each financial year.

The ACMA will be able to establish advisory committees to assist in the performance of any of its functions. The bill also continues in existence the Consumer Consultative Forum established under the Australian Communications Authority Act 1997.

The establishment of the ACMA will help Australia remain at the forefront of communications regulation. A single regulator will be best placed to provide for the needs of industry and consumers given the rapid evolution of technologies in the communications sector.


AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY (CONSEQUENTIAL AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2004

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004 contains transitional provisions and consequential amendments related to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) by the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004 (‘the ACMA Bill’).

The bill deals with the consequences of the proposed merger of the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) to form the ACMA.

Schedules 1 and 2 to the bill make a number of consequential amendments to Commonwealth Acts. Among other things, these amendments provide for the repeal of the Australian Communications Authority Act 1997, which establishes the ACA, and provisions in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 which establish the ABA. They remove provisions dealing with the interaction between the ACA and the ABA that are no longer required as a consequence of the merger of those bodies. They also change references in Commonwealth legislation to the ABA and the ACA to references to the ACMA.

Schedule 3 to the bill will amend references to the ABA and the ACA in provisions of the Postal Industry Ombudsman Bill 2004 that is expected to be re-introduced into the Parliament at or around the same time as the ACMA Bill, in the event that those provisions are passed by the Parliament, and the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Telecommunications Offences and Other Measures) Act (No 2) 2004 which will commence on 1 March 2005. In addition, Schedule 3 will amend current references to the ACA and the ABA in the Ombudsman Act 1976 which would not be amended by the Postal Industry Ombudsman Bill.

Schedule 4 to the bill contains transitional provisions, including provisions dealing with the transfer of assets and liabilities of the ACA and the ABA to the Commonwealth, given that the members, associate members and staff of the ACMA will be a prescribed agency for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. Schedule 4 to the bill also provides for the continuing operation of ACA and ABA instruments after the commencement of the bill.


TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CARRIER LICENCE CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Act 1997 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of determinations made by the ACA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The bill also contains provisions to provide that a reference to the ACMA’s costs for a financial year include a reference to the ACA’s costs for that financial year and repeals Part 4 of the Act which is spent.


TELECOMMUNICATIONS (NUMBERING CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Act 1997 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of transfer notices given to the ACA, and determinations made by the ACA, under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


TELEVISION LICENCE FEES AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Television Licence Fees Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Television Licence Fees Act 1964 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Broadcasting Authority or ABA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of directions about gross earnings in relation to commercial television licences, which is relevant in calculating the licence fees payable under the Act, made by the ABA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


DATACASTING CHARGE (IMPOSITION) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Act 1998 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also amends a note consequential upon the ACMA Bill and contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of determinations made by the ACA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (RECEIVER LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of any existing election notices given to the ACA by a holder of a receiver licence electing to pay tax on each anniversary of the day the licence came into force, and determinations made by the ACA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (SPECTRUM LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Tax) Act 1997 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also amends notes consequential upon the ACMA Bill, and contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of determinations made by the ACA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (TRANSMITTER LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Communications Authority or ACA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of: any existing election notices given to the ACA by a holder of a transmitter licence electing to pay tax on each anniversary of the day the licence came into force; any existing approved forms of the ACA; and determinations made by the ACA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


RADIO LICENCE FEES AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Radio Licence Fees Amendment Bill 2004, which accompanies the Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004, makes amendments to the Radio Licence Fees Act 1964 to replace existing references in that Act to the Australian Broadcasting Authority or ABA with references to the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA.

The bill also contains transitional provisions to provide for the continuing effect of directions about gross earnings of a commercial radio broadcasting licensee, which is relevant in calculating the licences fees under the Act, made by the ABA under the Act prior to the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.


Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2004

On 7 April this year the Government announced changes to the anti-siphoning provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

With these changes, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to the anti-siphoning scheme.

The scheme continues to protect the access of Australian viewers to events of national importance and cultural significance by giving priority to free-to-air television broadcasters in acquiring the broadcast rights to those events.

This remains an important policy objective for the Government.

With fewer than one in four households having access to subscription television at this time, the rationale for the anti-siphoning scheme remains valid.

However, after extensive consultation, the Government determined that the anti-siphoning scheme did need updating to better reflect the attitudes of Australians and the commercial realities of the sporting and broadcasting sectors.

The Government has therefore developed a new anti-siphoning list which will protect listed events which take place between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2010.

On 11 May 2004, I signed the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice (No. 1) 2004, which gave effect to these changes.

The Government’s package of reforms to the anti-siphoning scheme also included a decision to extend the automatic de-listing period from six to 12 weeks.

This requires a legislative amendment to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

And this Bill seeks to give effect to that decision.

Automatic de-listing of an event currently occurs six weeks prior to the start of the event.

The responsible Minister can stop the automatic delisting if, in the view of the Minister, the free-to-air broadcasters have not had a reasonable opportunity to acquire the relevant rights.

This Bill amends the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to extend the automatic de-listing period from 1008 hours (or six weeks) prior to the start of an event, to 2016 hours (or 12 weeks) prior to its start.

This amendment will improve the efficiency of the operation of the de-listing provisions of the anti-siphoning scheme to the benefit of sporting bodies and viewers, by allowing subscription television operators a reasonable opportunity to acquire those rights not taken up by the free-to-air broadcasters, arrange coverage and market the programs to viewers.

This change, together with the removal of some events from the anti-siphoning list, will provide subscription television broadcasters with access to the broadcast rights for an increased range of sports, to the benefit of both sporting bodies and viewers.

The Bill also contains a transitional rule which applies to events that start between six and 12 weeks after commencement of the Bill.

The effect of this rule is that events of this kind are de-listed upon commencement of the Bill.

This provision aims to provide certainty to sporting bodies and broadcasters in relation to events that are on the anti-siphoning list and that start during the first 12 weeks after the Bill’s commencement.


New International Tax Arrangements (Managed Funds and Other Measures) Bill 2004

The bill I am introducing today further modernises Australia’s international tax regime, as part of the government’s ongoing review of international tax arrangements. It builds on legislation directed at the superannuation and funds management industries, which passed Parliament last week. It also follows legislation for a participation exemption and important reforms to Australia’s tax treaty policies reflected in the new tax treaty with the United Kingdom signed in August 2003.

This bill focuses on making the Australian managed fund industry more attractive to foreign clients. Australia has a significant managed funds industry facilitated by strong economic performance, a highly educated workforce, low-cost infrastructure, advanced regulatory systems, and sophisticated financial markets.

Schedules 1 and 2 make changes designed to reduce taxation impediments to further growth in this area. These changes will allow Australian managed funds to become more internationally competitive, increasing their attractiveness to non-residents.

Under current capital gains tax arrangements, non-residents investing in assets through an Australian managed fund may be taxed more heavily than if they invested directly in those assets or through a foreign fund. Measures in Schedule 1 will eliminate these distortions. Complementing this, measures in both Schedules 1 and 2 will reduce taxation of foreign source conduit income earned by non-residents via interposed Australian managed funds.

Schedule 1 makes three key changes to the income tax law.

It amends the law to disregard a capital gain or capital loss made by a foreign resident from disposing of its interest in an Australian fixed trust if the underlying assets of the trust are not Australian assets. A second amendment will disregard a capital gain made by a foreign resident in respect of the taxpayer’s interest in a fixed trust, if the gain ultimately relates to an asset of the trust which is not an Australian asset. In both cases, had the underlying asset been directly held by the foreign investor, Australian capital gains tax would not apply.

Reflecting the conduit principle of international taxation, foreign source income flowing through an Australian trust to non-residents is not taxed in Australia. However, under current arrangements when a trust interest is sold, previously distributed foreign source income is, on a delayed basis, subject to Australian capital gains taxation. On the other hand, non-residents investing directly, or through an offshore managed fund, do not pay Australian capital gains tax in respect of the foreign source income. A third amendment will eliminate this distortion.

Schedule 2 amends the rules for determining the source of income derived by certain residents of treaty partner countries. The interaction of treaty source rules and other treaty rules relating to non-resident beneficiaries of income derived by business trusts operating in Australia has implications for the managed funds industry. This interaction may result in foreign source passive income derived by those foreign beneficiaries through an Australian trust being treated as sourced in Australia and therefore taxed in Australia.

For example, if a New Zealand resident invests in an Australian managed fund investing offshore, this interaction inappropriately exposes the New Zealand beneficiary to Australian tax on conduit income. The amendments ensure the domestic source rules rather than treaty source rules (which have a wider potential reach) apply in this case. The effect of this amendment would be to relieve the conduit income from Australian taxation.

The amendments will align the tax treatment of foreign residents investing through managed funds that derive income from sources outside Australia with the tax treatment that would apply if those foreign residents made such investments directly.

Schedule 3 implements three measures fine tuning interest withholding tax arrangements, consistently with other recent developments in the tax law. These changes will allow Australian businesses generally to take advantage of global opportunities to lower their cost of debt and to facilitate efficient business structures.

The first measure broadens the range of financial instruments eligible for interest withholding tax exemption by adding ‘debt interests’. The second treats payments of a non-capital nature made on certain Upper Tier 2 hybrid capital instruments issued by banks, as interest for interest withholding tax purposes. Finally, the bill facilitates the transfer of additional assets and debts from Australian subsidiaries of foreign banks to their Australian branches without losing interest withholding tax exemptions.

The size of Australia’s funds management pool and its prospects for continued growth, are drawing global firms to establish operations in Australia. The resultant clustering of activity and the concentration of expertise has created a robust domestic industry. This infrastructure provides a framework for Australia to become the funds management hub for the Asia-Pacific region and these reforms will remove impediments to achieving that goal.

I note the strong business support for the bill. The business community has played a valuable and constructive role in helping develop the proposed legislation. This bill again demonstrates that the Government has listened and been responsive to industry calls for specific tax reforms to remove distortions from the tax system and allow Australian businesses to grow.

The future of the Australian economy is fundamentally linked to global prosperity and to Australians being a part of that prosperity. This bill is an important part of modernising Australia’s international tax system, to make the most of Australia’s potential to market financial products to foreign investors.

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

I commend this bill.


TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2004 MEASURES No. 7) BILL 2005

This bill makes amendments to the taxation laws to implement a range of changes and improvements to Australia’s taxation system.

This Government announced in its Promoting an Enterprise Culture election statement on 26 September, that it would provide further assistance and encouragement to small businesses, particularly those that set up and operate from home.

The first two measures in this bill are part of this initiative.

Firstly, the Government is introducing a tax offset for entrepreneurs, which is targeted at very small, micro and home-based businesses that are in the simplified tax system.

Broadly, the provisions introduce a 25 per cent entrepreneurs’ tax offset. The full 25 per cent will apply on the income tax liability attributable to business income for small businesses in the simplified tax system that have an annual turnover of $50,000 or less. This tax offset will then phase out for annual turnover between $50,001 and $75,000.

Secondly, this bill removes the current requirement for small businesses to use the ‘STS accounting method’ in order to be eligible to enter the simplified tax system. The new provisions will enable businesses to utilise the most appropriate method of determining taxable income for them and still qualify for the Simplified Tax System. Removing the requirement to use the STS accounting method will extend the concession to a broader range of small businesses.

Schedule 3 allows tax concessions currently available to employee share scheme holders to extend beyond a corporate restructure in certain instances. This further supports the development of the employee share scheme and further aligns employer and employee interests. These amendments will allow taxpayers who have deferred their income tax liability on a discount received on shares or rights acquired under an employee share scheme, to roll-over a taxing point that would otherwise occur because of a corporate restructure.

Schedule 4 doubles the current fringe benefits tax exemption thresholds for long service award benefits. The exemption thresholds will be increased from $500 to $1,000 for 15 years of service and from $50 to $100 for each additional year of service.

The fifth measure introduces a taxation incentive designed to encourage petroleum exploration in Australia’s remote offshore areas, announced by the Treasurer and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources on 11 May 2004. This measure is designed to increase the probability of a new petroleum province being discovered. An incentive is needed because Australia’s frontier areas are under-explored due to the relatively high risk and cost associated with exploration in these areas.

After listening to the concerns of business, the Government, in Schedule 6, is implementing further refinements to the consolidation regime. The refinements provide greater flexibility and certainty to certain aspects of the consolidation regime. This bill clarifies the operation of the consolidation cost setting rules with respect to undistributed profits and liabilities on exit. The refinements also ensure that the consolidation rules apply appropriately with respect to bad debts, general insurance companies and life insurance companies. These amendments take effect from 1 July 2002, which is the commencement date of the consolidation regime.

Schedule 7 ensures that all roll-over relief available for partnerships under the uniform capital allowances regime, is also available in relation to depreciating assets allocated to simplified tax system pools.

Schedule 8 provides greater flexibility, reduced compliance costs and ongoing certainty surrounding family trust elections and interposed entity elections. This will be achieved by allowing entities to make either of these elections at any time in relation to an income year.

Schedule 9 contains amendments to ease compliance costs for small business in relation to non-commercial loans from private companies. The amendments will extend the time a shareholder has to repay a loan from a private company or to put such a loan on a commercial footing. Following these amendments, if a shareholder repays such a loan or puts it on a commercial footing before the ‘lodgement day’ the loan will not be a deemed dividend. This bill also corrects a technical deficiency in the tax law to ensure that the rules in relation to loans from trustees apply as intended.

Schedule 10 to this bill makes a number of technical corrections and amendments to several taxation laws. These corrections and amendments fix errors such as duplicated definitions, asterisks missing from defined terms, incorrect numbering and referencing and outdated guide material. While not implementing any new policy, these corrections and amendments are an important part of the Government's commitment to improving the taxation laws.

Schedule 11 amends the refundable film tax offset provisions to allow unused provisional “Division 10BA” certificates to be revoked.

This amendment will ensure that certain film projects can revoke their provisional 10BA certificates, as long as the certificate has not been used to already gain a tax deduction. The intent is to allow these projects to then apply for the refundable film tax offset.

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

I commend this bill.


TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2005 MEASURES No. 1) BILL 2005

This bill makes amendments to various taxation laws to implement a range of changes and improvements to Australia’s taxation system.

Firstly, as announced in the 2004-05 Budget, this Government is amending the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to improve access to certain fringe benefits tax exemptions for small business. Schedule 1 will extend the FBT exemption for employer-provided remote area housing, by removing the requirement for businesses to establish that such housing benefits are customary in a particular industry. The amendments will also broaden the FBT exemption for work-related items to include personal digital assistants and portable printers designed for use with portable computers. In addition, the existing FBT exemptions for relocation costs will be extended to include the engagement of a relocation consultant to assist in the relocation of employees.

Secondly, the bill sets effective life caps for the decline in value of buses, light commercial vehicles, trucks and truck trailers. These statutory caps represent the maximum period over which deductions for the decline in value of these assets can be taken. This will allow taxpayers the option of either continuing to self assess the effective life appropriate to their circumstances, or utilising the effective life caps as determined by this measure. These amendments enable transport operators to maintain a younger, safer fleet and assist the industry to manage the nation’s growing freight task.

Schedule 3 amends the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax Act) 1999. The amendments ensure that the goods and services tax will apply where a non-resident enterprise supplies from overseas a right or option to goods, services or other things that are for consumption in Australia. The amendments reflect the broad policy intent of the GST legislation to tax private consumption of most goods, services and other things in Australia. This measure will help ensure that there is competitive neutrality between similar supplies made by offshore and by Australian-based businesses and will ensure these latter businesses are not disadvantaged. The amendments will apply from the date this bill is introduced into Parliament, reflecting that this is an integrity measure addressing an unintended consequence in the GST law.

Finally, this bill introduces the new mature age worker tax offset. The new tax offset will reward and encourage mature age workers who choose to stay in the workforce. This is part of the Government’s strategy to deal with the demographic challenge posed by the ageing of our population. It recognises that improving the labour force participation of mature age workers will improve productivity, thereby assisting in securing Australia’s future economic strength. It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to and appreciation of older workers. This measure will provide a maximum annual tax offset of $500 on the income tax liability of workers aged 55 years and over.

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

I commend this bill.

Debate (on motion by Senator Hill) adjourned.

Ordered that the following bills be listed on the Notice Paper as one order of the day:

Australian Communications and Media Authority Bill 2004;

Australian Communications and Media Authority (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004;

Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Amendment Bill 2004;

Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Amendment Bill 2004;

Television Licence Fees Amendment Bill 2004;

Datacasting Charge (Imposition) Amendment Bill 2004;

Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004;

Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004;

Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 2004; and

Radio Licence Fees Amendment Bill 2004

Ordered that the following bills be listed on the Notice Paper as separate orders of the day:

Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2004;

New International Tax Arrangements (Managed Funds and Other Measures) Bill 2004;

Tax Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 7) Bill 2005; and

Tax Laws Amendment (2005 Measures No. 1) Bill 2005