Share schemes legislation — Labor attacks committee delay

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Share schemes legislation — Labor attacks committee delay

The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, claimed that the Liberal Party majority report of the Senate Economics Reference Committee Review into Employee Share Schemes poses an immediate $135 million threat to the Budget bottom line.

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The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, claimed that the Liberal Party majority report of the Senate Economics Reference Committee Review into Employee Share Schemes poses an immediate $135 million threat to the Budget bottom line.
 
In addition, the report, Sherry said, risks the integrity of the retirement savings of Australians by calling on the promotion of such schemes as alternatives to superannuation retirement savings.
 
Sherry commented:
'After 12 years of doing nothing and costing the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected taxes, the Liberals now oppose the Government's revised share scheme measures that deliver a balanced outcome, supporting employee share ownership while boosting tax integrity.
 
We have responded to stakeholder concerns, consulted widely on the final measure and released draft legislation, now the Liberals have put a question mark on the legislation when business wants certainty.'
The government dissenting report has called on the Senate to pass the share schemes measure as soon as possible.
 
The government's draft package is open for written submissions until 31 August. Copies of the consultation materials are available online.
 
Economics References Committee — recommendations
 
The recommendations of the committee are:
‘Recommendation 1
 
The committee recommends that in consultation with but not limited to employee share ownership groups, unions and academics, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conduct a survey of employee share schemes in Australia every five years, starting at the end of the 2009–10 financial year. The survey should collect data on, but not limited to, the following:
  • number and type of employee share schemes
  • number, size and industry of companies offering these schemes
  • number of employees and equity held by them
  • breakdown of employees by occupation, educational level and wage
  • reasons for offering (employers) and participating (employees) in the scheme
  • perceived effects and effectiveness of the schemes for both employers and employees
  • perceived barriers in the take-up of the schemes
  • breakdown of general employee (broad-based) versus executive (narrow) schemes in terms of the number of shares offered, number of participants and equity held.
Recommendation 2
 
5.32 The committee recommends that the Government delay the introduction of the employee share scheme tax legislation in order to take note of the other reviews in this area, including the Productivity Commission and Board of Taxation and the Henry reviews, to maintain legislative integrity and coherence.’
 
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