Petroleum (Timor Sea Treaty) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2003

Second Reading Speech

Mr Ian MacFarlane (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I recently introduced to parliament the Petroleum (Timor Sea Treaty) Bill 2003.

The Petroleum (Timor Sea Treaty) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2003 gives effect to provisions contained in certain articles of the treaty relating to criminal jurisdiction, customs, employment regulation, migration, quarantine, income tax and fringe benefits tax. The bill also repeals the Petroleum (Australia-Indonesia Zone of Cooperation) Act 1990.

The related acts which will be amended as a result of the principal act are the:

Crimes at Sea Act 2000
Customs Act 1901
Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986
Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963
Migration Act 1958
Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967
Quarantine Act 1908
Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992
Taxation Administration Act 1953
Workplace Relations Act 1996

A further act, the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978, is amended by a separate bill, the Passenger Movement Charge (Timor Sea Treaty) Bill 2003. This act requires a separate amendment bill as the act itself imposes a tax.

In most cases, the consequential amendments to the various acts are relatively minor--in many instances they merely amend the relevant act by using expressions such as `Joint Petroleum Development Area' where `Area A of the Zone of Cooperation' or simply `Area A' previously appeared, as is the case in the Migration Act 1958 or Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 amongst others.

In the case of amendments to tax-related acts, the changes are in some cases more detailed, for instance applying the transfer pricing provisions to transactions between Australia and areas such as the JPDA where Australia has a shared allocation of taxing rights with another country, and providing foreign tax credits for foreign tax paid to the other country--for example, East Timor--by Australian residents on income from such an area. These changes are explained in detail in the notes on clauses section of the explanatory memorandum.

The Timor Sea Treaty is to be taken to have effect on 20 May 2002. In order for this to take place certain parts of the bill retrospectively amend relevant legislation as of 20 May 2002.

However, to prevent any retrospective criminal liability arising under the amendments, offence provisions in the Petroleum (Timor Gap Zone of Cooperation) Act 1990 have been preserved from repeal for the period between 20 May 2002 and the date at which this Act receives Royal Assent.

It is clearly in the national interest that these legislative amendments be approved as soon as possible. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum to this bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Fitzgibbon) adjourned.