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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 98

(Question No. 582)

Senator Withers asked the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 9 October 1985:

(1) What sum is allocated in the current financial year for hospitality/entertainment which may be expended:

(a) by the Department; and

(b) by each and every Statutory Authority for which the Minister has responsibility.

(2) What were the guidelines in force as at 1 September 1985 for expenditure from the hospitality/entertainment account of:

(a) the Department; and

(b) each and every Statutory authority for which the Minister has responsibility.

(3) Following upon the Statement by the Treasurer `Reform of the Australian Taxation System' on 19 September 1985 what action is proposed in relation to questions 1 and 2.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The following amounts have been allocated for hospitality/entertainment in 1985-86.

(a) Department: $12,000.

(b) Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC): $20,000. Most of this amount will be expended in the Commission's own staff canteen complex, in providing hospitality to visitors to the relatively remote Lucas Heights site.

The Pipeline Authority (TPA): No amounts have been internally allocated for proposed expenditure on hospitality/entertainment. Expenditure is charged to miscellaneous expenses. Actual expenditure in 1984-85 totalled $1,500, and a similar amount is expected in 1985-86.

Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (SMHEA): The Authority does not include a line item in its budget covering hospitality/entertainment; rather a general provision is made to cover official visitors to the Scheme and also to cover visits by organisations such as the Snowy Mountains Council, Electricity Commissions, local Governments etc. The main expenditure in this category would be in the context of public relations associated with official visitors to the Scheme. Expenditure in the order of $20,000 is expected in 1985-86.

Joint Coal Board: No part of the annual government appropriation to the Board is spent on hospitality/entertainment. It is estimated that approximately $25,000 will be spent in 1985-86 from other funds controlled by the Board.

(2) Guidelines in force as at 1 September 1985 were:

(a) Department: Finance Directions 13/1 and 13/2, and associated Guidelines 13/1 to 13/14.

(b) AAEC: Although not bound by them, Guidelines 13/1 to 13/14 of the Finance Directions.

TPA: Expenditure is subject to the approval of the Executive Member.

SMHEA: Expenditure is subject to the approval of the Authority.

JCB: Major expenditure is subject to the approval of the Board. Minor expenditure is subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Board.

(3) On and from 20 September 1985 the Department and each Statutory Authority for which the Minister has responsibility have been recording and monitoring hospitality/entertainment expenses. This will enable appropriate action to be taken when the rules governing the liability for the new tax provisions are settled. Such action has been taken in the context of the provisions of Finance Circular 1985/18.