Michelle Lensink

Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Bill

A question put forward to the Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the Status of Women) regarding business names (Commonwealth Powers) Bill.

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 29 February 2012.)

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the Status of Women) (15:28): I would like to thank honourable members for their contribution to the second reading debate. A question was asked by the Hon. Michelle Lensink. Essentially, clause 4 of the Business Names (Commonwealth Powers) Bill operates with clause 6 to define the matters being referred to the parliament of the commonwealth for the purpose of future amendments to the commonwealth law establishing the national business names registration system.

In order to achieve national consistency, these provisions were drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel's Committee and the business names legislation working group, both of which comprise representatives from all states and territories and the commonwealth.

State, territory and commonwealth representatives agreed that it was reasonable for the commonwealth parliament to have a power to amend the national law as it relates to business names held by those engaged in unlawful conduct. This is to help ensure the integrity of the public register for business names. For example, the commonwealth may reasonably wish to amend provisions of the national law which restrict who is eligible to register or renew a business name based on unlawful conduct. This would include, for example, offences under the national law and serious breaches of the Corporations Act. While not identical to the Business Names Act 1996, section 8(4)(c) of that act already provides that a person must not register or renew the registration of a business name if the applicant (or one of the applicants), because of a conviction for an offence, would be prohibited under part 5 from carrying on a business under that name. Part 5 of that act requires that offenders convicted of certain offences must not carry on business under a business name in this state without the permission of the District Court.

Bill read a second time.

In committee.

Clause 1.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In relation to the cost of registration, could the minister advise the chamber what the cost to register is in South Australia and what the cost will be nationally when this comes into force in May 2013?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: For South Australia, the fee for registration of a business name and renewal of existing business name, I have been advised, is expected to be lower. Under the national system, the fee for one year registration is proposed to be $30 and, for three years' registration, it is proposed to be $70. The current application fee in South Australia is $159. The current renewal fee is $128 for three years' registration.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I presume then that there is some loss of revenue to the state government through OCBA. Can the government advise what that would be per annum and perhaps some forward projections?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I have been advised that the national partnership agreement provides for the facilitation of reward payments to be made by the commonwealth to states and territories for the achievement of key milestones in 27 key areas, including the establishment of a National Business Names Registration System.

Under the agreement, South Australia will be entitled to up to $33 million in reward payments on the completion of relevant project milestones, including those related to the National Business Names Registration System. Foregone business names registration revenue for South Australia is estimated to be about $596,000 in the 2011-12 financial year, representing five weeks of operation of the national system. On the basis of an expected commencement date of 28 May 2012, from the first entire year of operation (which is 2012-13), foregone revenue is estimated to be about $6.4 million per year ongoing, indexed over the forward estimates.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: If I could confirm—and I am not sure whether I heard all of the minister's answer—that is just for the business names section of the national partnership. Is that correct?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: The information I gave in terms of the commonwealth funds, the rewards payments, that $33 million was in relation to the completion of all relevant milestones across the 27 key areas, and the loss of revenue was in relation to business names registration.
Clause passed.

Remaining clauses (2 to 9) and title passed.

Bill reported without amendment.

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