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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3529


Mr SUKKAR (DeakinAssistant Minister to the Treasurer) (18:58): Firstly, can I take this opportunity to thank all members who've contributed to the debate on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Employer Register) Bill 2017. As has been spoken about, the government recognises that working holiday-makers are an integral part of Australia's tourism industry and also a key source of labour, particularly in the agriculture, horticulture, tourism and hospitality sectors. This bill, importantly, removes the ability for details of the register of employers of working holiday-makers to be made public by the Australian Business Register via ABN Lookup. Importantly, all employers of working holiday-makers will still be required to register with the Australian Taxation Office. Registered employers will be able to withhold tax at the new working-holiday-maker rate of 15 per cent, from the first dollar of income up to $37,000. Once registered, employers can advise current and prospective working holiday-makers that they're registered and are able to withhold tax at the new working-holiday-maker rate of 15 per cent, from the first dollar of income up to $37,000, as I mentioned.

The register addresses concerns about the exploitation of working holiday-makers and will provide valuable data on who employs working holiday-makers, what sectors they are engaged in and, importantly, where they are located. This amendment does not affect the requirement for the Australian Taxation Office to report this information annually to the Treasurer, ultimately for presentation to the parliament. This reporting process involves aggregate employer information and won't identify any working holiday-maker employers.

In addition, this bill restores provisions regarding information-sharing between the ATO and the Fair Work Ombudsman to what they were prior to the changes made by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Act 2016. Information-sharing between the ATO and the Fair Work Ombudsman will be limited to situations in which an entity is actually or reasonably suspected of noncompliance with the respective tax law.

This bill, again, is part of a broader package of reforms to ensure that Australia remains an attractive and safe destination for working holiday-makers in all of those very important sectors of our economy that I mentioned earlier. Therefore, I commend this bill to the House.

The SPEAKER: The question is that this bill be now read a second time.