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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 15017

Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 27 March 2003:

(1) Has he read Discussion Paper 11 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry titled Working Arrangements - Their Effects on Workers Entitlements and Public Revenue; if not, why not.

(2) Will he reform Australia's taxation laws to stamp out the abuse of phoenix companies; if not, why not.

(3) Will he legislate to provide more severe penalties for the directors of phoenix companies who engage in this serial criminal behaviour; if not, why not.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Government has accepted, in principle, the Royal Commission's key recommendations including a separate act governing workplace relations in the construction industry, a new law enforcement agency for the industry, a Safety Commissioner to monitor federally-funded construction sites and the application of the National Construction Code to significant new projects which are fully or partly federally funded.

(2) The Royal Commission also noted the significant efforts by Federal Government agencies to investigate and prevent fraudulent phoenix company activity. As part of its consideration of the report, the Government will consider the recommendations of the Royal Commission that seek to strengthen government actions to detect and eliminate fraudulent phoenix company activity.

(3) Further announcements on Government decisions in response to the Royal Commission report will be made in the coming months.