Senate debates

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 7) Bill 2014; In Committee

5:57 pm

Photo of Christine MilneChristine Milne (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

The Greens oppose schedules 1 and 6 in the following terms:

(3) Schedule 1, page 5 (line 1) to page 24 (line 8), to be opposed.

(4) Schedule 6, page 55 (line 1) to page 89 (line 4), to be opposed.

I do not wish to speak to these amendments any further than I have in my speech on the second reading. It is very clear why we do not want to see $100 million of taxpayers' money given as an exploration incentive to the mining industry, nor do we want to assume that people who choose to exceed their non-concessional superannuation contribution have done so inadvertently.

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor does not support the Greens amendment to remove schedule 1 from the bill. Schedule 1 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to reduce the tax penalty of individuals with excess non-concessional superannuation contributions. The current excess non-concessional contributions tax imposes a severe punishment for what is often an inadvertent breach of the non-concessional cap. The proposed changes will allow individuals to withdraw any excess contributions and have this amount treated as income for tax purposes.

The measure is largely supported by the superannuation stakeholders. The previous Labor government enacted a similar measure on a temporary basis in 2012 and 2013 to allow excess non-concessional contributions to be withdrawn. In addition, the Inspector-General of Taxation recommended that the government change the treatment of excess non-concessional contributions following a review in 2014.

Schedule 6 and the Excess Exploration Credit Tax Bill 2014 introduce an exploration development incentive by amending the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 and other tax legislation to provide a tax incentive to encourage investment in small mineral exploration companies undertaking greenfields mineral exploration in Australia.

Junior mineral companies undertake a disproportionately large amount of mineral exploration in Australia. However, as the vast majority of these companies never become profitable they are not able to take advantage of the tax deductions for exploration activities. This schedule creates a capped spending program to provide a tax credit that is passed through to investors in junior mineral exploration companies that are conducting greenfield exploration.

The capped spending and caveat nature of this measure call into question how effective a stimulus of exploration activities it will be. Labor believes that this program should be reviewed in the future to identify whether it has achieved its objectives but supports its inclusion in this bill.

The CHAIRMAN: The question is that schedules 1 and 6 stand as printed.

The committee divided. [18:05]

(The Chairman—Senator Marshall)

Question agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN: Senator Milne, I take it that you will not proceed with your next two amendments, so the question now is that the bills be agreed to without amendments or requests.

Question agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN: The question now is that the bills be reported.

Question agreed to.

6:08 pm

Photo of Fiona NashFiona Nash (NSW, National Party, Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the report of the committee be adopted.

Question agreed to.

Bills reported without amendments; report adopted.