Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No 2) Bill 2011

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (18:26): I take the opportunity to speak briefly to schedules 1 to 4 and 6, which have been covered quite extensively by the member for Casey and my colleagues the member for Dobell and the member for Greenway. I will just touch on those briefly; then I want to go to schedule 5 in particular. Schedule 1, as has been indicated, has added two additional organisations to the list of deductible death recipients in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997—that is, the Charlie Perkins Trust for Children and Students and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation fund. As was indicated by the member for Greenway, both organisations are established in the names of significant and important Indigenous Australians with a very worthwhile cause at the heart of their activities, and I think this is something that will be well supported across all members of the House.

Schedule 2 amends the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, and that is to permit the regulation to impose rules on self-managed superannuation fund trustees that make, hold or realise investments involving collectibles and personal-use assets. As indicated, the intention was to ensure the appropriate use of assets within those trust funds and was a commitment in the election campaign. I would also commend that. I understand from the contribution of the member for Casey that it is also supported on the other side.

Schedule 3 amends the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and the Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997 to allow the use of tax file numbers for a very specific purpose in order to locate member accounts without having to use other methods that may be less accurate and appropriate, but within a very strict and specific purpose in order not to breach the privacy considerations that need to be used when utilising tax file numbers. Schedule 4 amends GST law to replace the current mechanism for ensuring Australian taxes, fees and charges are not subject to GST, with a legislative exemption which allows for the making of regulations to treat an Australian tax or an Australian fee or charge in a particular way. The amendments allow the GST treatment of an Australian tax, fee or charge to be determined against legislative principles, providing the same outcome as the current mechanism but in a more efficient manner. So I would support all of those first four schedules. Schedule 6 is a range of miscellaneous amendments which I would also support.

I particularly want to take the opportunity to speak to schedule 5 because it is something that I have worked on for quite a few years—indeed, since we were in opposition—in conjunction with a local business called Seawind Catamarans. Seawind had approached me during the period in which their sector of the industry was campaigning around these reforms in order to support their international competitiveness.

I am a great supporter, as many of my colleagues are, of the manufacturing sector of this country, and this is an important local manufacturing business. The dilemma that they faced was that the way the GST rules operated meant that people who purchased one of their catamarans had to export it within 60 days under the GST application. That creates a problem in a number of areas. Often these people are buying their first large boat, and they need to be taught how to navigate it properly. Often that is best done by sailing up and down the coast. The other advantage of that for us as a nation, of course, is not only the selling of a locally manufactured boat but also the fact that they then visit ports up and down our coastal areas, spending tourist dollars and participating in our tourist based areas as well.

The concern was that we needed to have a way to extend the amount of time in which they could utilise a boat for a private purpose in Australia beyond the standard 60 days. This particular schedule extends that to 12 months, but it does put very appropriate conditions and controls around that to ensure that the intention is achieved in making our manufacturing sector in the boatbuilding area competitive. Certainly since I first started working with them on this particular amendment, I was conscious that for something like Seawind Catamarans we have seen the global financial crisis and the very high Australian dollar and, like many in the sector, these things are putting real pressure on this local industry. They have a building facility in my electorate, which the Treasurer has visited, in fact, and there is also a second site in Nowra.

They employ a significant number of people, and we are, obviously, very keen to see that business continue in our region.

To be able to add a small bit to making them internationally competitive through this particular amendment is particularly important. I think the schedule is well worth supporting, and I particularly commend the work that has been done to put it together in a way that means it does achieve what it is intended to achieve. The member for Dobell went through all the detail of that, so I will not repeat that, but I do welcome that particular schedule on behalf of our local industry.

I commend all six schedules in this bill to the House.