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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5782


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Education and Training) (12:20): 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—

PETROLEUM AND OTHER FUELS REPORTING BILL 2017

This Bill would establish a reporting regime for petroleum, other fuels and fuel-related products to improve Australia's fuel statistics.

The Australian Government has produced statistics on the production, refining, import, export, consumption and end-of-month stocks of petroleum and fuels such as ethanol for over forty years. These statistics are used by government agencies to monitor the market and energy security; by business to monitor supply and demand trends and prioritise future investment; and by international organisations to help compile global statistics which increase market transparency.

In recent years, the proportion of businesses contributing to the statistics has declined, while the fuel market has become increasingly competitive and diverse in both the sources of fuel and the types of fuel available. While a clear majority of the industry supports the statistics and continues to contribute data, declining participation in some categories has reduced the coverage, usefulness and accuracy of the statistics. The introduction of a compulsory reporting requirement will ensure that the Government can continue to produce reliable and useful fuel statistics.

The production of accurate statistics is particularly important as the Government implements its plan to return to compliance with Australia's obligation as a member of the International Energy Agency to hold fuel stocks equivalent to 90 days of the previous year's average daily net oil imports. Including stocks as part of the reporting requirement will ensure Australia's oil equivalent stockholdings can be calculated accurately and in a timely manner.

The Bill sets up a legislative framework for mandatory reporting. The specific reporting requirements will be provided in subordinate legislation to ensure the reporting requirements stay up-to-date with changes in the market and technology. The fuel market has the potential to undergo significant change, from the use of biofuels to battery powered cars to the introduction of hydrogen fuel cells. It is important that new products and activities can be swiftly added to the reporting requirements to ensure the statistics remain relevant.

During consultation on the reporting requirement, businesses made clear that they expect their sensitive information to be treated securely. The Bill provides extensive protections for personal or commercially sensitive information. For example, the Bill prohibits the publication of information that could identify an individual or enable commercial-in-confidence information to be determined. This ensures that reporting businesses can be confident that their sensitive information will be stored securely, only used where necessary, and only published where appropriate.

The Government is committed to minimising the regulatory burden associated with mandatory reporting. Data-sharing arrangements are being pursued with a number of Federal, state and territory agencies to ensure that data already reported to government is used first, rather than requiring it to be reported twice. For example, the Bill will authorise the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to share import and export data collected through the customs regime to remove the need for this information to be recollected. The Bill also requires an independent review to be undertaken in 2021 to ensure the impact and effectiveness of the reporting regime is evaluated and, if necessary, able to be refined.

PETROLEUM AND OTHER FUELS REPORTING (CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS AND TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2017

This Bill supports the implementation of the Petroleum and Other Fuels Reporting Bill 2017.

This Bill will empower the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to share data they have collected with the Department of the Environment and Energy to reduce the reporting burden associated with the reporting obligation imposed by the Petroleum and Other Fuels Reporting Bill 2017. The data provided to the Department of the Environment and Energy will also be used to monitor compliance with the reporting obligation contained in the Petroleum and Other Fuels Reporting Bill 2017.