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, 18 June 2012
Page: 3496


Senator CORMANN (Western Australia) (20:17): The opposition does not oppose this bill. The bill makes a series of changes to existing taxation and superannuation laws as follows. It amends the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 to ensure that a supply made by a healthcare provider to an insurer, a statutory compen­sation scheme operator, a compulsory third-party scheme operator or a government entity is treated as a GST-free supply to the extent that the underlying supply from the healthcare provider to an individual is a GST-free health supply. This amendment corrects an anomaly arising from a recent full Federal Court decision and preserves the original policy intention of the GST act that certain supplies of health related goods and services are to be GST-free when they involve multiparty payment arrangements through an insurer or a government entity.

The bill also amends the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 to restore the policy intent that the non-commercial activities of government related entities are not subject to the goods and services tax. This amendment corrects an anomaly arising from a recent full Federal Court decision and preserves the original intention of the GST act that non-commercial activities of government related entities are not subject to GST. This is achieved by treating a payment which meets certain conditions as not being the provision of consideration and therefore not subject to the basic GST rules.

It also amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to temporarily pause the indexation of the superannuation concessional contribution cap so that it will remain fixed at $25,000 up to and including the 2013-14 financial year. This is a continuation of the bad, high-spending, high-taxing Labor government, forcing Aust¬≠ralians saving to achieve self-funded retirement to pay the price for their reckless and wasteful spending over the last 4½ years. It is just another example of this government making Australians saving for their retirement pay the price for their fiscal mismanagement.

This bill also amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003, the Taxation Administration Act 1953 and various other acts to allow eligible individuals the option to effectively have excess concessional contributions of $10,000 or less refunded to them. If the refund is accepted, the excess concessional contributions will be assessed as income for the year of the excess contributions rather than the individual paying excess contributions tax. The relief provided is a one-off only and would not apply where a taxpayer had made excess contributions on any previous occasion on or after 1 July 2011.

We do not think this measure goes far enough, but at least it is a start. We think anybody who has clearly made inadvertent mistakes in their excess contributions should have the capacity to rectify that without the absolutely disproportionate and excessive penalties that are being imposed by the ATO right now. The ATO should have proper discretion to allow Australians who are saving to achieve self-funded retirement to correct these sorts of errors in circumstances where clearly these mistakes have been made either inadvertently or even, on some occasions, outside people's own control.

Schedule 5 to this bill permits the Australian Taxation Office to disclose details of an individual's superannuation interests and superannuation benefits to a regulated superannuation fund or public sector superannuation scheme, an approved deposit fund, retirement savings account provider or their administrators. This will enable the ATO to provide information to the bodies, particularly through enhanced services that will allow those bodies to access information about a member's superannuation interests, including amounts held by the ATO. This information will enable funds to assist their members to find and consolidate their superannuation interests.

As I mentioned at the outset, the coalition will not oppose this bill, although we would revisit some of these issues in government if successful at the next election.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Cameron ): The question is that the bill be read a second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.