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Horse Disease Response Levy Collection Bill 2008
10-02-2012 12:51 PM
House of Reps
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Horse Disease Response Levy Collection Bill 2008
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THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HORSE DISEASE RESPONSE LEVY COLLECTION BILL 2008
(Circulated by Authority of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,
The Hon Tony Burke MP)
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for collection and administration of a horse disease response levy on the initial registration of horses, so that the horse industry can repay any amount paid by the Commonwealth on behalf of the horse industry in the event of a disease outbreak. The Australian Horse Industry Council, the Australian Harness Racing Council and the Australian Racing Board support the imposition of a horse disease response levy.
The Bill provides for the collection of horse disease response levies by persons or bodies that register horses. It also outlines the liability of horse registration bodies regarding the horse disease response levy payments made by horse owners to the Commonwealth.
The Bill includes imposition of penalties applying to unpaid levies, and allows for the remission of any penalties resulting from late payments. The Bill includes information gathering powers and allows the collection of information and documents as specified by the Commonwealth including a strict liability offence provision should a person fail or refuse to comply with the request for information. The strict liability offence provision is necessary to ensure that the Commonwealth’s levy collection requirements, as outlined in Bill.
The Bill provides for regulations to prescribe the administrative details required to implement this legislation.
The Commonwealth became a party to the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement ( EADRA) in March 2002 . The EADRA provides for industry repaying any amounts paid for by the Commonwealth on behalf of industry under the agreement, via a statutory levy. To do this a new horse disease response levy will be imposed on the industry under the new Horse Disease Response Levy Act.
Under the terms of the EADRA, the Australian Animal Health Council (AAHC) co-ordinates, collates and maintains financial information in respect of any animal disease emergency. Livestock industries agreed that the AAHC will receive and disburse levy funds to be used to repay the Commonwealth for the costs underwritten by the Commonwealth on behalf of industry. Several payments of the levy may be made to the AAHC in any period. The horse industry will be advised of total debt to the Commonwealth by the AAHC and repayment arrangements will be implemented in accordance with Schedule 7 of the EADRA. Once a debt is known, the horse industry will activate its horse disease response levy, with all levy funds initially flowing to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and subsequently disbursed to the AAHC. The AAHC will manage the horse disease response levy funds on behalf of the industry in order to repay debt to the Commonwealth.
To allow the repayment arrangements via a levy to come into law, it is also necessary to amend the Australian Animal Health Council (Live-stock Industries) Funding Act 1996 .
These arrangements are similar to those applying to other industries Party to the EADRA.
FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT
There are no direct financial implications for the Commonwealth as the intention of the Bill is to facilitate the collection administration of the levy to Animal Health Australia. However, indirectly the arrangements will allow the repayment of monies to the Commonwealth expended on behalf of the horse industry under cost sharing arrangements for responses to emergency horse diseases.
NOTES ON CLAUSES
Item 1 Short Title
This clause provides for the Act to be called the Horse Disease Response Levy Collection Act 2008.
Item 2 Commencement
This clause provides for the Act to come into effect on the day after it receives Royal Assent.
Item 3 Definitions
This clause defines the meaning of the Australian Animal Health Council; authorised person; horse; horse disease response levy; horse industry body; horse registration body and owner as used throughout this Act. It also provides for the same meaning as that used in the Horse Disease Response Levy Act 2008 where it occurs.
Item 4 Act to bind the Crown
This clause binds the Crown but it is not liable to be prosecuted for an offence.
Item 5 Application of the Criminal Code
This clause applies to Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code which is applicable to this Act.
Part 2 — Liability for horse disease response levy and penalties
Item 6 Liability of horse registration bodies
This clause outlines the liability of a horse registration body to pay the Commonwealth horse disease response levy on behalf of the owner of the horse if the horse registration body register a horse. The clause also provides for the horse registration body being liable for the payment of any penalties to the Commonwealth that apply for the late payment of horse disease response levy.
Item 7 Collection of horse disease response levy by horse registration bodies
This clause provides for a horse registration body to refuse to register a horse unless the owner has provided the necessary funds to pay the levy amount. These bodies will be required to issue a receipt to the owner as evidence that the horse disease response levy amount has been paid.
Item 8 When a levy is due for payment
This clause provides for regulations to determine when a levy will be due for payment.
Item 9 Application of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997
This clause specifies that a horse registration body is not bound by the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. The Act applies for the proper management of such public money once remitted by the horse registration body.
Item 10 Penalty for late payment
This clause applies to the way that penalties will be applied to any late horse disease response levy payments.
Item 11 Remission of penalty
This clause applies to provisions that allow the Minister to remit unpaid horse disease response levy penalties.
Item 12 Recovery of levy
This clause applies to the amount of due horse disease response levies that can be recovered by the Commonwealth including penalty payments.
Item 13 Refund of levy
This clause outlines the manner in which overpayments of horse disease response levies, should they occur, are dealt with, including those overpayments that have occurred while complying with the requirements of the Australian Animal Health Council (Live-stock Industries) Funding Act 1996.
Part 3 — Information gathering powers
Item 14 Powers to seek information or documents
This clause provides for information gathering powers allowing the collection of information and documents as specified by the Commonwealth.
Item 15 Offences in relation to returns etc
This clause provides for strict liability offence provisions to ensure that the Commonwealth’s horse disease response levy collection requirements as outlined in the Act are adhered to. As the levy return is a crucial element that accompanies the payment of the horse disease response levy, the penalty is higher and is in line with existing Collection Acts.
Item 16 Conduct by directors, employees and agents
This clause applies to the conduct by directors, employees and agents engaged in activities that may lead to committing an offence within the meaning of this Act.
Part 4 — Review of decisions
Item 17 Review by the Minister
The intention of this clause is that the Minister will have the authority to review decisions made in relation to the refusal to remit a penalty, when requested by a person affected by such a decision.
Part 5 — Miscellaneous
Item 18 Release of information
This clause allows an authorised person to release information relating to the amount of horse disease response levies that have been received by the Commonwealth to a horse industry body, the Australian Animal Health Council or to others that the Secretary has permitted to receive this type of information, however, this information will not be able to identify an individual or other contact details.
Item 19 Appointment of authorised persons
This clause sets out the requirements for appointment of authorised persons by the Secretary, and that the authorised person must comply with the Secretary’s direction.
Subclause 18 (4) outlines that while the Secretary may provide direction to an authorised person in writing, this is not to be considered a legislative instrument within the meaning of Section 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 and is included to assist readers.
Item 20 Delegation by Secretary
This clause sets out the requirements for the delegation of powers by the Secretary to an Australian Public Service (APS) employee of the Department. Subclause 19 (3) outlines that while the Secretary may delegate powers to an APS employee in writing this is not to be considered a legislative instrument within the meaning of Section 5 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 and is included to assist readers.
Item 21 Regulations
This clause provides for the Governor-General to allow regulations that will prescribe details that are necessary for the collection of the levies imposed by this Act. This includes regulations relating to the payment of horse disease response levy; penalties late payment; requirements to keep and retain records; provision of returns, relevant information and documents; and for offences against the regulations.