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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
28/08/2007
Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2007 Tax Laws Amendment (2007 Measures No. 5) Bill 2007 Trade Practices Amendment (Small Business Protection) Bill 2007
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS
Senate committee
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2007 Tax Laws Amendment (2007 Measures No. 5) Bill 2007 Trade Practices Amendment (Small Business Protection) Bill 2007
Final

CHAIR (Senator Ronaldson) —I declare open this meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics. This hearing has been convened to receive evidence in relation to the inquiry into the following bills: the Tax Laws Amendment (2007 Measures No. 5) Bill 2007, which I think we will probably refer to as ‘TLAB 5’ in the course of this inquiry, and the Trade Practices Amendment (Small Business Protection) Bill 2007. TLAB 5 is an omnibus bill with 12 schedules, and the majority of submissions received by the committee confined their comments to schedules 1, 7, 8, 10 and 11 of the bill. It is on those schedules that today’s hearing will concentrate.

Schedule 1 of the bill removes section 51AD and division 16D of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to enable access to tax benefits for the finance and provision of infrastructure and other assets. Schedule 7 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to extend the statutory licence capital gains tax to provide for a rollover where one or more new licences are issued in consequence of the ending of one or more licences. Schedule 8 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to provide a capital gains tax rollover for investors in the stapled group where a public unit trust is interposed between them and the stapled entities.

Schedule 10 introduces a refundable tax offset of 40 per cent for Australian feature films and 20 per cent for documentaries, television series, telemovies and animations. Schedule 11 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to extend the premium 175 per cent research and development tax concession to companies belonging to a multinational enterprise group for additional R&D expenditure on behalf of a group foreign company above a rolling three-year average of expenditure.

The Trade Practices Amendment (Small Business Protection) Bill 2007 amends section 87 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 to allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to seek compensation for damages on behalf of parties affected by unlawful secondary boycotts.

These are public proceedings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness shall state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may of course also be made at any other time.

I welcome witnesses to these hearings. Officials from the Department of the Treasury will be participating in today’s hearing from committee room 1S5 at Parliament House in Canberra, and Mr Potter from the ACCI will also be presenting evidence from the committee room. Thank you for accommodating the committee’s request to have this evidence given from a committee room in parliament. It is a lot easier from our point of view.

[9.07 am]