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Thursday, 27 May 2004
Page: 29319


Mr ROSS CAMERON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (9:47 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Superannuation Laws Amendment (2004 Measures No. 1) Bill 2004 will amend the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003.

The Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 provides a matching government co-contribution of up to $1,000 for personal superannuation contributions made by qualifying individuals. This measure was first announced in the government's 2001 election statement, A Better Superannuation System.

This bill alters the eligibility criteria in the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to extend the government co-contribution to more low income earners.

Individuals will no longer be required to be employer superannuation supported to qualify for the government co-contribution. Rather, this criterion will be replaced with a requirement to have 10 per cent or more of their total income as an employee. This change will apply from 1 July 2003.

To prevent `double-dipping', the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 will be amended to ensure that people entitled to a co-contribution cannot also claim a tax deduction for personal superannuation contributions. However, this will only be done in the 2004-05 and subsequent income years to avoid any retrospective effect on these new government co-contribution recipients.

The bill will also make a number of administrative and technical amendments to ensure the smooth operation of the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003.

The bill will amend the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to specify a time frame in which providers must repay uncredited co-contribution amounts, and a further period of time after which providers will become liable to pay the general interest charge.

The bill will also amend the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003 to provide that, where the information is available, the minister will report, on an aggregated and annual basis, on the numbers of co-contribution beneficiaries and spouses of beneficiaries, within prescribed income ranges.

The bill also makes some technical amendments to specify the interest rate that will apply to late payments made by the Commissioner of Taxation in the Superannuation (Government Co-Contribution for Low Income Earners) Act 2003, and inserts a previously omitted definition.

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

I commend the bill and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Swan) adjourned.