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Thursday, 9 December 2004
Page: 1


Senator TCHEN (9:31 AM) —I give notice that at the giving of notices on the next day of sitting I shall withdraw business of the Senate notices of motion Nos 3 and 4 standing in my name for 11 sitting days after today for the disallowance of the following instruments.

National Health Amendment Regulations 2004 (No. 2), as contained in Statutory Rules 2004 No. 186 and made under the National Health Act 1953.

National Health (Private Health Insurance Levies) Regulations 2004, as contained in Statutory Rules 2004 No. 187 and made under the National Health Act 1953.

I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the committee's correspondence concerning these regulations.

Leave granted.

The documents read as follows—

National Health Amendment Regulations 2004 (No.2) Statutory Rules 2004 No. 186

National Health (Private Health Insurance Levies) Regulations 2004 Statutory Rules 2004 No. 187

5 August 2004

The Hon Tony Abbott MP

Minister for Health and Ageing

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the National Health Amendment Regulations 2004 (No. 2), Statutory Rules 2004 No. 186 and the National Health (Private Health Insurance Levies) Regulations 2004, Statutory Rules 2004 No. 187.

The Committee notes that these regulations respond to concerns raised by the Australian National Audit Office about the Constitutional validity of certain levies imposed by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council. The Explanatory Statement indicates that legal advice has been received about this matter. It is not clear, however, whether any action is required to validate the imposition of levies that have been collected prior to these amendments. The Committee would therefore appreciate your advice on this matter and seeks a copy of the legal advice referred to in the Explanatory Statement.

The Committee would appreciate your advice as soon as possible, but before 3 September 2004, to enable it to finalise its consideration of these regulations. Correspondence should be directed to the Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, Room SG49, Parliament House, Canberra.

Yours sincerely

Tsebin Tchen

Chairman

—————

2 December 2004

Senator Tsebin Tchen

Chairman

Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Tchen

Thank you for your letter of 5 August 2004 about the National Health Amendment Regulations 2004 (No. 2), Statutory Rules 2004 No. 186 and the National Health (Private Health Insurance Levies) Regulations 2004, Statutory Rules 2004 No. 187.

In response to your enquiries regarding the imposition of levies that have been collected prior to 1 July 2004, I draw the Committee's attention to the following provisions:

Section 9 of the Private Health Insurance (Council Administration Levy) Act 2003 which validates the imposition of the Private Health Insurance Administration Council administration levy before 1 July 2004;

Section 11 of the Private Health Insurance (Collapsed Organization Levy) Act 2003, which validates the imposition of the collapsed organization levy before 1 July 2004;

Section 9 of the Private Health Insurance (ACAC Review Levy) Act 2003, which validates the imposition of the Acute Care Advisory Committee review levy before 1 July 2004; and

Section 9 of the Private Health Insurance (Reinsurance Trust Fund Levy) Act 2003, which validates the imposition of the Reinsurance Trust Fund levy before 1 July 2004.

The Committee should also have regard to the explanatory material which supplements this legislation.

No further action is required to validate the imposition of these levies that have been collected prior to these amendments.

Yours sincerely

Tony Abbott

Minister for Health and Ageing