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Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 2) Bill 2019
This bill contains measures which will assist older Australians, help farmers and tourism operators, improve the efficiency of the Australian Energy Regulator, ensure that consumer privacy remains central to the Consumer Data Right regime and protect retirement savings from erosion.
Schedule 1 to the bill extends the concessional tax treatment of genuine redundancy and early retirement scheme payments to those under age-pension qualifying age.
A key feature of the treatment of these payments is the tax-free component. However, currently a person can only receive the tax-free component if they are aged below 65 years at the time of their termination or retirement from their employer.
The government is making this change to address the situation where some older Australians, due to their age, cannot access either the age pension or the tax-free component of genuine redundancy or early retirement scheme payments.
These amendments will therefore assist older Australians who receive a genuine redundancy or early retirement scheme payment but are not yet able to receive the age pension.
The measure applies to genuine redundancy and early retirement scheme payments made to individuals on or after 1 July 2019.
Schedule 2 to the bill provides further luxury-car tax relief to those farmers and tourism operators who purchase heavy-duty passenger vehicles as part of their business. Importantly, the proportion of luxury car tax that can be refunded will be increased and the maximum amount of the refund will also be increased to $10,000. These changes will apply to eligible vehicles acquired on or after 1 July 2019.
Schedule 3 to the bill amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to expand the board of the Australian Energy Regulator from three to five members and ensure the expanded board can operate efficiently.
This measure recognises that the scope and complexity of the Energy Regulator’s work have changed significantly over recent years through the growing number of energy market participants and rules to be enforced and through its key roles in energy policies such as the Default Market Offer.
Amendments are also made to ensure the validity of future appointments under the Australian Energy Market Agreement.
This measure implements the model agreed by the COAG Energy Council in October 2018. The amendments were agreed by the Energy Council in August 2019.
Schedule 4 to the bill amends the Consumer Data Right to ensure that consumer privacy remains central to that regime.
It requires that the ACCC activate the power already afforded to them in the original act to write rules allowing consumers to request that Accredited Data Recipients delete Consumer Data Right data that relates to them.
By legislating that the ACCC must include rules relating to the deletion of personal data we are encouraging longer-lasting confidence in the system; and helping to ensure that respect for consumer’s wishes on how their data is used is a central element of the Consumer Data Right.
Schedule 5 to the bill improves the lost and unclaimed superannuation regime to enable the Commissioner of Taxation to calculate and pay interest on ATO-held super they proactively reunite with members’ active accounts. This is another step in the government’s agenda to ensure that peoples’ hard-earned retirement savings are protected from erosion.
Full details of these measures are contained in the explanatory memorandum.