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Economics Legislation Committee


In Attendance

Senator Birmingham, Minister for Finance

Senator Hume, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, Minister for Women's Economic Security

Department of the Treasury

Dr Steven Kennedy, Secretary

Corporate and Foreign Investment Group

Ms Roxanne Kelley, Deputy Secretary, Corporate and Foreign Investment Group

Mrs Elizabeth Williamson, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Cristy England, Assistant Secretary, People and Organisational Strategy Branch

Ms Karen Williams, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Hamish McDonald, First Assistant Secretary, Strategic Coordination and Communications Division

Ms Shannon Kenna, Assistant Secretary, Communications Branch

Mr Tom Hamilton, First Assistant Secretary, Foreign Investment Division

Mr Andrew Deitz, Assistant Secretary, Policy and National Security Branch

Ms Sharon Nyakuengama, Assistant Secretary, Compliance Branch

Mr Rob Raether, First Assistant Secretary, Business Liaison Unit

Macroeconomic Group

Mr Luke Yeaman, Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomic Group

Mr Trevor Power, First Assistant Secretary, Macroeconomic Conditions Division

Mr Damian Mullaly, Principal Adviser, Macroeconomic Forecasting Branch

Mr Nick Stoney, Assistant Secretary, Macroeconomic Conditions Branch

Mr Mark Cully, First Assistant Secretary, Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Division

Mr Michael Kouparitsas, Assistant Secretary, Fiscal and Monetary Policy Branch

Ms Nu Nu Win, Assistant Secretary, Structural Analysis Branch

Ms Lisa Elliston, First Assistant Secretary, International Economics and Security Division

Mr Jim Hagan, Chief Adviser International

Fiscal Group

Ms Jenny Wilkinson, Deputy Secretary, Fiscal Group

Mr Brenton Goldsworthy, First Assistant Secretary, Budget Policy Division

Mr Damien White, First Assistant Secretary, Commonwealth-State Relations Division

Mr Matt Crooke, Assistant Secretary, Commonwealth-State Relations Branch

Mr Matt Brine, First Assistant Secretary, Environment, Industry and Infrastructure Division

Ms Victoria Anderson, First Assistant Secretary, IGR and Population Division/Centre for Population

Mr Merrick Peisley, Assistant Secretary, Population Branch

Ms Philippa Brown, First Assistant Secretary, Labour Market Policy Division

Ms Vicki Wilkinson, First Assistant Secretary, Social Policy Division

Mr John Swieringa, Assistant Secretary, Health, Disability and Social Services Branch

Mr Patrick Boneham, Assistant Secretary, Education, Migration and Housing Branch

Ms Amy Auster, First Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency Division

Mr Bill Brummitt, Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency Division

Mr Ian South, Assistant Secretary, IGR Taskforce, GR and Population Division

Markets Group

Ms Meghan Quinn, Deputy Secretary, Markets Group

Mr James Kelly, First Assistant Secretary, Financial System Division

Ms Katherine (Kate) O'Rourke, First Assistant Secretary, Consumer Data Right Division

Ms Jessica Robinson Assistant Secretary, Policy, Governance and Engagement Branch

Mr Robert Jeremenko, First Assistant Secretary, Market Conduct Division

Mr Tom Dickson, Assistant Secretary, Corporations Branch

Mr David Pearl, Assistant Secretary, Consumer Branch

Ms Lynn Kelly, First Assistant Secretary, Retirement Income Policy Division

Mr Robb Preston, Assistant Secretary, Tax and Transfers Branch

Mr Alex Maevsky, Acting Assistant Secretary, Member Outcomes and Governance Branch

Mr Ben Dolman, Assistant Secretary, Member Outcomes and Governance Branch

Mr Peter Cully, First Assistant Secretary, Small and Family Business Division

Mr Gino Grassia, Assistant Secretary, Small and Family Business Branch

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Mr Bruce Billson, Ombudsman

Dr Craig Latham, Deputy

Miss Alexandra Hordern, Advocacy Director

Productivity Commission

Mr Michael Brennan, Chair

Ms Nina Davidson, Head of Office

Ms Rosalyn Bell, Assistant Commissioner

Ms Rosalie McLachlan, Assistant Commissioner

Mr Ralph Lattimore, Executive Manager

Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman

Ms Karen Payne, Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman

Mr David Pengilley, General Manager

Mr Duy Dam, Director, Review and Engagement

Revenue Group

Ms Maryanne Mrakovcic, Deputy Secretary, Revenue Group

Mr Simon Writer, First Assistant Secretary and Chief Counsel, Law Division

Ms Katrina Di Marco, First Assistant Secretary, Tax Analysis Division

Ms Sam Reinhardt, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate and International Tax Division

Mr Geoff Francis, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Individuals and Indirect Tax Division

Mr Marty Robinson, Assistant Secretary, International and Tax and Treaties Branch

Mr Paul Fischer, Acting Assistant Secretary, Corporate Tax Branch

Australian Taxation Office

Mr Chris Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation

Ms Jacqui Curtis, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Jeremy Hirschhorn, Second Commissioner, Client Engagement Group

Ms Melinda Smith, Chief Service Delivery Officer, Service Delivery Group

Ms Kirsten Fish, Acting Second Commissioner, Law Design and Practice

Mr Matthew Hay, Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Architecture, Enterprise Solution and Technology

Ms Janine Bristow, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Bradley Chapman, Deputy Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office People

Mr James O'Halloran, Deputy Commissioner, Economic Stimulus Branch

Ms Catherine Willis, Australian Taxation Office General Counsel, Australian Taxation Office Corporate

Mr Timothy Dyce, Deputy Commissioner, Private Wealth

Ms Rebecca Saint, Deputy Commissioner, Public Groups

Mr Vivek Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, Debt and Lodgement

Ms Michelle Crosby, Deputy Registrar, Australian Business Register, Commonwealth Business Registry Service

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Dr Gary Johns, Commissioner

Ms Anna Longley, Assistant Commissioner, General Counsel

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Mr Joe Longo, Chair

Ms Sarah Court, Deputy Chair

Ms Karen Chester, Deputy Chair

Mr Sean Hughes, Commissioner

Ms Danielle Press, Commissioner

Ms Cathie Armour, Commissioner

Mr Warren Day, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Chris Savundra, General Counsel

Mr Greg Kirk, Executive Director, Strategy Group

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Mr Wayne Byres, Chairman

Mrs Helen Rowell, Deputy Chair

Mr John Lonsdale, Deputy Chair

Mr Brandon Khoo, Executive Director, Insurance

Mrs Suzanne Smith, Executive Director, Superannuation

Mr Adrian Rees, General Manager, Superannuation

Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority

Mr Stephen Glenfield, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Amelia Constantinidis, Standards Director

Mr Howard Cook, Accreditation Manager

Reserve Bank of Australia

Dr Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor

Ms Michele Bullock, Assistant Governor (Financial System)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Mr Rod Sims, Chair

Mr Scott Gregson, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Timothy Grimwade, Executive General Manager Compliance and Product Safety

Mr Marcus Bezzi, Executive General Manager, Specialised Enforcement and Advocacy

Mr Rami Greiss, Executive General Manager, Enforcement

Ms Sarah Proudfoot, Executive General Manager, Infrastructure Regulation Division

Mr Paul Franklin, Executive General Manager, Consumer Data Right

Mr Peter Maybury, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Tom Leuner, Executive General Manager of Mergers, Exemptions and Digital Division

Australian Energy Regulator

Ms Clare Savage, Chair

Ms Liz Develin, Chief Executive Officer

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Mr David Gruen, Australian Statistician

Ms Helen Wilson, Deputy Australian Statistician, Social Statistics Group

Ms Jenet Connell, Deputy Australian Statistician, Chief Operating Officer, Enterprise Services Group

Ms Teresa Dickinson, Deputy Australian Statistician, Census and Data Services Group

Mr Chris Libreri, General Manager, Census Division

Mr Bjorn Jarvis, Program Manager, Labour Surveys Branch

National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation

Mr Nathan Dal Bon, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Stuart Neilson, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Mr Rod Saville, General Counsel and Board Secretary

Committee met at 09:01

CHAIR ( Senator Brockman ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed expenditure for 2021-22 and related documents for the Treasury portfolio and the Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolio. The committee may also examine the annual reports of the departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee has set 11 June 2021as the date by which senators are to submit written questions on notice and 16 July 2021 as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice. Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate which govern estimates. If you need assistance, the secretariat has a copy of the procedures. In particular, I draw the attention of witnesses to the order of the Senate of 13 May 2009 specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised and which I now incorporate into Hansard:

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

(a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

(b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer's statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(d) requires the Procedure Committee to review the operation of this order and report to the Senate by 20 August 2009.

(13 May 2009 J.1941)

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders)

CHAIR: Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order. Instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document.

An officer called upon for the first time to answer a question should state their full name and position for the Hansard record, and witnesses should speak clearly into the microphone. Please make sure all mobile phones are switched off or turned to silent. I remind senators and witnesses in the hearing room that microphones remain live unless I instruct otherwise—for example, at a suspension or adjournment. For witnesses participating via video conference, please mute your microphone as the default and unmute your microphone when speaking. I ask members of the media to follow the established media guidelines and the instructions of the committee secretariat as set out in the guidelines. Senators and witnesses' laptops, mobile phones, other devices and personal papers are not to be filmed or photographed. I remind everyone in the gallery that they are not permitted to speak or interfere with the proceedings or with witnesses at any point during the hearing. The security is present and they will be asked to remove anyone who does not follow these instructions. Witnesses and senators who are seeking to table documents during the committee's hearings were requested to provide an electronic copy of these documents the day prior to the hearing so that the document can be circulated electronically during the hearing. Please liaise with the secretary and if you need assistance.

Senators, departments and agencies have been provided with advice on the arrangements in place to ensure that budget estimates 2021-22 hearings are conducted in a safe environment. This guidance is also available from the secretariat. I draw your attention to the QR codes available in the waiting rooms. Witnesses, observers and staff are encouraged to use the codes before entering rooms to enable a full record of attendance to be kept. The committee appreciates the cooperation of all attendees in adhering to these arrangements. The committee's proceedings today will commence with the Treasury portfolio, beginning with the Department of the Treasury Corporate and Foreign Investment Group, and Macroeconomic Group. The hearing will then follow the order as set out in the circulated program.