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Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Amendment (Funding and Wool Tax) Bill 2000

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1998-1999-2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN WOOL RESEARCH AND PROMOTION ORGANISATION AMENDMENT (FUNDING AND WOOL TAX) BILL 2000

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,

the Hon Warren Truss MP)

 

 



 

AUSTRALIAN WOOL RESEARCH AND PROMOTION ORGANISATION AMENDMENT (FUNDING AND WOOL TAX) BILL 2000

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

1.       The proposed amendments to the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993 (the AWRAP Act) will allow the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation (AWRAP) to plan, facilitate and implement the Government decision taken in the light of the outcome of WoolPoll 2000, which closes on 3 March 2000.  WoolPoll 2000 provides woolgrowers with the opportunity to vote on the preferred types of industry services they want and indicated how much they are prepared to invest in those services. 

 

2.       The results of WoolPoll 2000 will assist Government in identifying and developing the most appropriate structure to provide the preferred services to Australian woolgrowers.  This process will form an integral element of implementing the wool industry Future Directions Taskforce recommendations.

 

3.       It is also proposed that the AWRAP Act be amended to allow the Minister to determine the rate of wool tax having had regard to the preferences of persons who have been liable to pay wool tax (including the results of WoolPoll 2000), rather than having to duplicate the process with a formal wool tax ballot which is very limited in the questions which can be put to growers.

 

4.       The Wool Tax Act (No.1) 1964 , Wool Tax Act (No.2) 1964 , Wool Tax Act (No.3) 1964 , Wool Tax Act (No.4) 1964 and Wool Tax Act (No.5) 1964 (Wool Tax Acts (1 - 5)) will be amended to reduce the minimum rate of wool tax from 2.75% to nil in order to allow the range of wool tax options put to growers in WoolPoll 2000 (that is from the current 4 per cent down to a minimum of 0 per cent) to be implemented.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

5.       The proposed amendments to the AWRAP Act and the Wool Tax Acts (1-5) will not impose any additional costs on the Commonwealth.

 

 



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short Title

 

6.       Provides for the Act to be called the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Amendment (Funding and Wool Tax) Act 2000.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

7.       Provides that the amendments to the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993 will come into effect on Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

8.       Provides for proposed amendments to the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993 as set out in Schedule 1 of the Bill.

 

SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENTS

 

Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993

 

9.       Item 1 imposes additional functions on AWRAP.  These functions are necessarily broad to allow AWRAP to effectively implement Government policy having taken the results of WoolPoll 2000 into account.  Specifically, proposed subsection (1B) of this item provides AWRAP with the additional function of planning, facilitating and participating in the reform, privatisation or abolition of the Organisation, or the establishment of a new body to perform its current functions, or both.  This function is constrained by any written directions from the Minister under proposed subsection (1D).

 

10.   Proposed subsection (1C) gives AWRAP the further function of providing funds to reimburse persons or bodies (including the Commonwealth) for expenses or liabilities it incurs in participating in the processes as outlined in proposed subsection (1B).  Again, this function is constrained in that it can only be exercised in accordance with directions given under proposed subsection (1D).

 

11.   Proposed subsection (1D) specifies that AWRAP must comply with any written directions from the Minister about the functions conferred on the Organisation under proposed subsections (1B) or (1C).  It distinguishes Ministerial directions under proposed subsection 6(1D) from a section 68 Ministerial direction.  Section 68 directions may only be given if the Minister is satisfied that they are necessary because of exceptional circumstances and to ensure the operations of AWRAP do not conflict with major Government policies.  This is not the case for directions under proposed subsection (1D).

 

12.   Proposed subsection (1E) further defines the scope of Ministerial directions provided for in proposed subsection (1D).  It allows Ministerial directions to address both specific matters, or set out general policies and require the Organisation to perform the relevant functions consistently with those policies.

 

13.   Proposed subsection (1F) allows the Minister to delegate the power to give directions under proposed subsection (1D) to an Agency Head within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999.

 

14.   Items 2 and 3 broaden the scope for developing the current recommendation under section 51 of the AWRAP Act.  Recommendations are currently made by wool tax payers, by postal ballot conducted in accordance with regulations, on the amount equal to the percentage of the sale value of shorn wool, or shorn wool other than carpet wool, to be paid to AWRAP for promotion and research and development.  This does not allow the Minister to take the results of WoolPoll 2000 into account in setting a wool tax rate, but rather requires a much more limited wool tax ballot process as provided for under the AWRAP Act regulations.

 

15.   Item 2 is a minor technical amendment to section 51(2) of the AWRAP Act to allow the current recommendation on the percentages of wool tax receipts to be paid by the Commonwealth to the Organisation for research and development and for promotion to be “made” by the Minister (as specified under Item 3) rather than “approved”.

 

16.   Item 3 simply expands the Government’s ability to determine the current recommendation in response to the expressed wishes of wool growers.  It repeals the existing paragraphs 51(2)(a) and (b) and provides for a recommendation applying to a financial year to be determined in two ways rather than only by wool tax ballot.  The wool tax ballot process will, however, be retained.  The Minister will also be able to determine the current recommendation having regard for the preferences of persons who have been liable to pay wool tax, including the results of WoolPoll 2000.

 

17.   If the Minister does not make a determination of the current recommendation in a particular year as required under the AWRAP Act, then the recommendation would be approved by means of a postal ballot.

 

18.   Proposed subparagraph 51(2)(b) provides for the recommendation to be varied by another recommendation, either determined by the Minister or approved by postal ballot.

 

19.   Item 4 inserts proposed subsection (3A) after subsection 51(3) to specify that the percentage specified in a recommendation under subsection 51(3) may be nil.

 

20.   Item 5 provides for minor technical amendments to paragraphs 51(4)(a), (b) and (c) of the AWRAP Act to allow the current recommendation to be “made” by the Minister (as specified under Item 3) rather than “approved”.

 

21.   Item 6 is a minor technical amendment to paragraph 51(5) of the AWRAP Act to allow the current recommendation to be “made” by the Minister (as specified under Item 3) rather than “approved”.

 



Wool Tax Act (No. 1) 1964

 

22.   Item 7 repeals the existing paragraph 6(4)(b) which sets the minimum rate of wool tax at 2.75 per cent and allows the rate to be nil.

 

Wool Tax Act (No. 2) 1964

 

23.   Item 8 repeals the existing paragraph 6(4)(b) which sets the minimum rate of wool tax at 2.75 per cent and allows the rate to be nil.

 

Wool Tax Act (No. 3) 1964

 

24.   Item 9 repeals the existing paragraph 6(4)(b) which sets the minimum rate of wool tax at 2.75 per cent and allows the rate to be nil.

 

Wool Tax Act (No. 4) 1964

 

25.   Item 10 repeals the existing paragraph 6(4)(b) which sets the minimum rate of wool tax at 2.75 per cent and allows the rate to be nil.

 

Wool Tax Act (No. 5) 1964

 

26.   Item 11 repeals the existing paragraph 6(4)(b) which sets the minimum rate of wool tax at 2.75 per cent and allows the rate to be nil.

 

27.   Item 12 specifies that the amendments made by items 2 to 6 apply in relation to current recommendations that apply to financial years on or after 1 July 2000.

 

28.   Item 12 further specifies that the amendments made by items 7 to 11 apply in determining the rate of wool tax in relation to financial years beginning on or after 1 July 2000.