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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5531

Senator COONAN (Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer) (6:10 PM) —I thank honourable senators for their contributions and for their overall support of the New Business Tax System (Consolidation, Value Shifting, Demergers and Other Measures) Bill 2002. It is a very complex bill and the cooperation of all senators, particularly at the committee stage, is much appreciated. In view of the expressions of support it is unnecessary for me to address all of the concerns, at least in my summing up.

I reiterate that it is vital that this bill receives passage for business certainty. That has been noted by all speakers. The consolidation measures are relevant to many corporate restructures currently under consideration. The Corporate Tax Association notes that the uncertainty created by the delay in unconditional passage of the bill is now creating commercial difficulties in the business community. In addition, many corporates are wanting to make disclosures in their December financial statements concerning consolidation. The fact that the measures have not been passed is also cited as the main reason for the slow take-up of the measures, particularly amongst smaller businesses.

All measures contained in this bill have been the subject of an effective consultation process with business. This consultation will continue. This process has been widely praised by external stakeholders. I believe that the process, combined with the recommendations of the Senate committee, should provide sufficient comfort for senators that the measures in this bill should be enacted as a matter of urgency. I commend the passage of the bill.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.