Petroleum Stakeholder Group record of meeting, May 2015

Meeting details

Venue: ATO Office, 747 Collins Street, Docklands, Melbourne

Date: 20 May 2015

Start: 1.30pm Finish: 4.00pm

Chair: Tom Wheeler

Secretariat: Rowena Troth

Contact Phone: (02) 4923 1444


Tom Wheeler


Peter Holt


Andrew McIver


Anthony Barnard


Laurren Pamenter


Greg Berry


Adam Friederich


Nathan Dickens

Australian Institute of Petroleum

Grace Abinoja

Exxon Mobil

Rod Geer

Exxon Mobil

Chris Scully

BP Australia Pty Ltd

Grace Leung

Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd

George Chenoud

Caltex Australia Petroleum Pty Ltd

Helen Curran

Viva Energy

Rowena Troth


Discussion Summary


The Petroleum Stakeholder Group agendas, minutes and related papers are not binding on the ATO, ACBPS or the other bodies referred to in these papers. While every effort is made to accurately record views expressed, the wording necessarily represents a summary of statements of general position only, and care should be taken in interpreting those statements. These papers reflect the position at the date of release (unless otherwise noted) and readers should note that the position on any issue may subsequently change.

Agenda Item 1 - Welcome

Welcome and introductions.


It was noted that the minutes of the meeting of 21 May 2014 were previously endorsed. Action Items 200514-7-8 and 200514-8-9 are in progress with others completed. No conflicts of interest were declared by members.

Agenda Item 2 - Compliance focus areas for 2015/16


Members noted the report by Andrew McIver regarding focus areas for 2015/16. These would include continuing targeted reviews and audits, including second tier entities - toll blenders. The ATO will be continuing work with Customs regarding excise equivalent goods warehouse checks however these would focus more on tobacco and alcohol. The ATO will also be continuing work with Customs around classification of product coming over the border.

Members will be kept informed of the status of the fuel indexation legislation. Issues were raised around indexation on 2 February (instead of standard 1 February) with two sets of customer advices requiring to be sent. Andrew McIver explained that the date is dependent on the Australian Bureau of Statistics advising CPI rates and that the schedule of their advice dates can be found at Link.

Members flagged their very strong support for the Relationship Manager role and asked to be kept informed if there were any potential changes to that role being considered. Members expect prior consultation on any such proposals / changes.

Agenda Item 3 - Reinventing the ATO


Tom Wheeler provided an overview of the ATO's blueprint for reinvention. Members were advised of the work being carried out by the ATO with efforts to reduce red tape through deregulation and provide a contemporary service to make it easier for taxpayers to comply. Several examples were provided including streamlined excise licensing renewals and applications, the Business Portal and redesigned web material.

Laurren Pamenter provided a draft excise micro-client eco-system on biodiesel as an example being used to identify potential opportunities, gaps or irritants in the client experience. Members clarified that although there was no requirement for testing of biodiesel by that industry, if they are selling to any of the fuel majors there will be rigorous testing required by the fuel major.

Laurren Pamenter provided members with an update of the Fuel Tax Credit Review. Common themes were found in responses from participants (including industry associations, taxpayers and tax agents), including irritants around apportionment and rate changes. Members also agreed that variability in business operations, systems, and methods of acquiring fuel meant that it was unlikely that a single digital solution would be appropriate for all claimants.

Peter Holt advised members of the formation of an ATO Safe Harbour Steering Committee. The Committee is made up of ATO senior officers and community members and would explore opportunities for new safe harbours. An Excise Working Group reports to that Committee. Once an area was identified, cost savings and revenue costs would be determined as well as possible options around that area which would then be submitted to the Steering Committee for consideration.

Action: 20052015-3-1 - PSG members to provide feedback about the client ecosystem. Due - 19 June 2015.

Action 20052015-3-2 - PSG members to provide feedback about the fuel tax credit review. Due - 19 June 2015.

Agenda Item 4 - Federal Budget and Tax White Paper updates


Members noted the extension of the GST Compliance Programme with States and Territories and the announcement by the Assistant Treasurer of statutory remedial powers for the Commissioner of Taxation. Likely parameters are that these can be used where there is an anomaly of the law but cannot be inconsistent with the policy intent and must be in favour of the taxpayer.

Many of the Budget announcements will assist with improved digital initiatives service offerings.

Adam Friederich referred to the Customs Budget measure around a review of licensing fees and charges impacting on the import of EEGs and warehouse storage.

The Better Tax Discussion Paper was released on 30 March. Submissions are due by 1 June.

Action 20052015-4-1 - Peter Holt to provide link to 2015 Budget reference to ACBPS review of border fees and charges. Item completed - 20 May 2015.

Agenda Item 5 - Industry / member updates


Members discussed potential impacts of the announced biofuels budget measure. The industry is preparing for change but is keen to engage with the ATO early to address any issues.

Action 20052015-5-1 - Anthony Barnard to work with PSG members regarding the likely impacts of announced measure (when able to) and reporting of biodiesel blends in weekly returns. Due date - as soon as possible.

Agenda Item 6 - Excise Regulations / Deregulation - bunker fuel


Members noted that the Excise Regulations have been remade as of 1 April 2015. Language has been modernised with tables for refund circumstances, timing rules and rates. Refunds for returned beer, tobacco and fuel were previously three separate items but are now one. Customs Regulations have been through a similar process and the fundamentals have not changed. The ATO acknowledged the contribution of the Australian Institute of Petroleum during this process.

In relation to bunker fuels, Anthony Barnard advised that the ATO is working with clients to identify the size/scale of irritants and impact of any potential change. Members indicated their support for this work being done.

Agenda Item 7 - Other Business


Statement of Intent - The new Statement of Intent was agreed by members.

Digital Communications - Tom Wheeler advised members of work being carried out on the website. A similar review is going on relating to the wine equalisation tax and Excise pages.

Tom encouraged members to ensure that mobile and email details are up to date, and encouraged use of the Business Portal.

Relationship Managers - Members reiterated their appreciation and support of the services provided by the Relationship Managers in Indirect Tax.

There was no other business.

The meeting concluded at 4.00pm.

    Last modified: 24 Jul 2015QC 46520