House of Representatives

Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 6) Bill 2020

Second Reading Speech

Mr SUKKAR (Deakin - Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 6) Bill 2020 makes a number of technical amendments to clarify the operation of a number of laws and provide greater flexibility for Australians accessing the existing full expensing, backing business investment and consumer data right regimes. It also removes support for charitable institutions who fail to take reasonable steps to participate in the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse.

In particular, schedule 1 to the bill introduces an alternative test for accessing the temporary full expensing measure announced in the budget. This alternative test will allow eligible businesses who have less than $5 billion in statutory and ordinary income (excluding non-assessable non-exempt income) in the 2018-19 or 2019-20 income year to access temporary full expensing. This alternative test targets Australian businesses that have a track record of investing in Australia but could not qualify under the existing test as their turnover was aggregated with an overseas parent or affiliate.

To ensure that the integrity rules associated with this extension operate as intended, Schedule 1 includes a number of clarifications to the tax law. For firms that qualify for full expensing under the alternative test, certain classes of assets are excluded, and this exclusion will apply to assets made available to a related party or a foreign entity.

These amendments importantly provide businesses with more flexibility by allowing those businesses to opt out of full expensing and the backing business investment on an asset-by-asset basis as well.

Schedule 2 to the bill amends the Competition and Consumers Act to better enable the consumer data right to grow in a way that is coordinated, accessible and secure.

These amendments will consolidate key consumer data right policy functions to improve coordination of the ongoing expansion and operation of the regime. They will also clarify the ways in which digital businesses accredited to use the consumer data right are able to employ agents to assist in providing services to their consumers.

Schedule 3 to the bill amends the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Act to encourage charities that may have been responsible for past institutional child sexual abuse to participate in the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse.

This measure will amend the definition of basic religious charity (BRC) to remove a religious institution's eligibility to be classified as a basic religious charity if it has a claim against it under the Redress Scheme, and does not join the Redress Scheme.

A basic religious charity that fails to take reasonable steps to participate in the Redress Scheme would be subject to existing compliance powers, including deregistration. Deregistration would result in the entity losing access to a suite of Commonwealth benefits and concessions, including tax concessions.

This amendment is consistent with the public's expectation that generous support from the Commonwealth by way of charitable tax concessions should not be provided to institutions who fail to fulfil their moral obligation to survivors of child sexual abuse.

Finally, schedule 4 to the bill makes a number of amendments to Treasury portfolio legislation to:

ensure it operates in accordance with policy intent;
improve the administrative outcomes or remedies of unintended consequences; and
correct technical or drafting defects.

These amendments further the government's commitment to the care and maintenance of Treasury laws and will make it easier for Australians to comply with current laws.

Full details of the measures are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

Debate adjourned.