Thursday, 15 September 2016
Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016; In Committee
by leave—I move amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7931:
(1) Page 4, clause 2 (table item 25), omit "Schedules 22 and 23", substitute "Schedule 23".
(2) Schedule 22, page 189 (lines 1 to 17), to be opposed.
These amendments relate to the rates of R&D tax offset. I traversed this in the course of the second reading debate. The concern is that this will impact by ratcheting down the R&D tax offset. It will make it less attractive for small and medium enterprises to invest in R&D. Given the hour I will not restate what I said previously, but this is something that the ALP, less than a year ago, trenchantly opposed because they said it would destroy innovation and affect jobs, and we need this level of R&D at a time that is so critical when we are facing a crisis in our manufacturing sector.
The comparison with what is currently being proposed is that under the current law you may obtain a refundable tax offset equal to 45 per cent of eligible research and development. This will cut it down to 43.5 per cent. All other eligible entities may obtain, and, depending on the size of the entity, there is a cut of 1.5 per cent from 40 per cent to 38.5 per cent. That percentage difference does make a real difference in the context of being competitive in the R&D space compared to what other countries are doing in respect of R&D. I urge all senators to support these amendments.