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Thursday, 26 June 2003
Page: 17751

Mr COX (9:20 PM) —I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration for the government's agreement to the opposition's amendment to the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (No. 4) 2003. We were concerned that there were virtually no existing agreements or awards which would have complied with the bill as drafted. We have reached agreement with the government on an amendment which will provide a transitional period allowing employers and unions to come to agreement on new awards and agreements which will comply with the bill.

We had a couple of other concerns about the bill. One of these related to the listing and delisting of companies. I understand that the government has given undertakings in the other place indicating any delisting of entitlement funds will be done on a basis of tax policy and not on a basis of any other policy or unrelated consideration, and that there has been some clarification of what employee entitlement funds will be able to do with their surpluses once they are fully taxed—by which I mean taxed at the top marginal rate so that there is no tax policy issue in relation to that.

This agreement will result in the industry having a reasonable period of time in which to bring its industrial agreements and awards into line with the requirements of the act. The act is a fundamentally sound arrangement which will stop people misusing things that have been described as `employee entitlement funds' for nefarious purposes, which was becoming prevalent in the tax avoidance industry. It is a good measure, it is a good outcome and I thank the government for its cooperation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins)—The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Question agreed to.