Second Reading SpeechMr ROBERT (Fadden-Assistant Treasurer)
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill increases consumer choice and underpins the coalition government's plan for a stronger economy in ensuring all Australians get a fair go, especially in retirement.
Schedule 1 to the bill increases the maximum number of allowable members in self-managed superannuation funds and small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority funds from four to six.
Self-managed superannuation funds are often used by families as a vehicle for managing their own superannuation savings and investment strategies. For families with more than four members, currently the only real options are to create two self-managed superannuation funds (which would incur extra costs) or place their superannuation in a large fund. This limits their choice and flexibility.
By allowing groups of five or six people to establish a self-managed superannuation fund or small Australian Prudential Regulation Authority fund, schedule 1 to the bill supports greater consumer choice. It provides increased flexibility for Australians to manage their retirement savings, particularly those Australians with larger families.
Schedule 2 to the bill supports the Excise Tariff Amendment (Supporting Craft Brewers) Bill 2019, which extends concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of eight litres or more.
Currently, draught beer sold at pubs, clubs and other licensed venues from kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates compared with beer sold from smaller kegs.
Extending the concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of eight litres or more will support craft brewers, which prefer to distribute beer from smaller kegs. This measure levels the playing field between small and large breweries.
As part of this measure, schedule 2 to this bill contains consequential amendments to the Excise Act 1901 to ensure that the concessional rates of excise duty continue to apply only to draught beer dispensed for consumption at licensed commercial premises.
Schedule 3 to the bill will extend the current income tax exempt status of the Global Infrastructure Hub for an additional four years until 1 July 2023.
The hub is a G20 initiative that was created during Australia's 2014 presidency to advance international efforts to lift infrastructure investment. On establishment, the hub was granted tax exempt status to ensure that financial contributions provided by other G20 members were not subject to income tax in Australia.
In July 2018, the G20 agreed to renew the hub's mandate for a further four years. Extending the current income tax exempt status ensures that future financial contributions will not be taxed.
Schedule 4 makes a number of amendments to Treasury portfolio legislation to ensure that the law operates as intended by clarifying the law, correcting technical or drafting defects, removing anomalies and addressing unintended outcomes. The schedule also includes amendments to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility for individuals to access the First Home Super Saver Scheme, so that first home super saver tax applies in circumstances intended by the original policy.
This furthers the government's commitment to restore simplicity and fairness to the Australian tax system and other Treasury laws and to the care and maintenance of the law. By clarifying the laws and repealing unnecessary provisions, these amendments also reduce the regulatory burden and make it easier for Australians to access current laws.
Finally, the Legislative and Governance Forum for Corporations was consulted in relation to schedules 1 and 4 of this bill as required under the Corporations Agreement 2002.
Full details of the measures are contained in the explanatory memorandum.
I commend the bill to the House.