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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 980


Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (09:49): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Import Processing Charges Amendment Bill 2013deals with legislative change to implement a revenue measure that was announced as part of the 2013-14 Budget. The increase to import processing charges was intended to be implemented from 1 January next year, however, legislation to effect the measure was never introduced. This bill amends the Import Processing Charges Act 2001 to increase import processing charges that will be levied on air, sea and post consignments with a value of $10,000 or more from 1 January 2014.

Under current legislation, an import processing charge is levied on consignments that have a customs value greater than or $1,000. Consignments that are valued at $1,000 or less are currently exempt from the import processing charge. The current rates of import processing charges will continue to apply for consignments above $1,000 but less than $10,000. There is no change to the exemption for consignments valued at $1,000 or less.

In 2013-14, it is estimated that 3.3 million import declarations will be lodged of which 99 per cent of these import declarations will be lodged electronically. Of the 3.3 million declarations that will be lodged in 2013-14, 55 per cent of these relate to consignments valued at greater than $10,000. This bill provides the legislative authority for changing the structure of the charges that will be levied on air, sea and post consignments, which will be reflected in the amended Import Processing Charges Act.

The current import processing charges recover only the commercial aspects of cargo and trade related activity. The Bill will amend the Import Processing Charges Act to broaden the cost base of the import processing charges so that all of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service's (ACBPS) costs associated with cargo and trade related activity, including community protection costs, are cost recovered. Under the new arrangements, the increased import processing charge will recover all costs associated with this activity including cargo screening costs; targeting and risk assessment costs; compliance, investigations and prosecution costs; as well as all other cargo and trade related activities.

The bill will also introduce a two-tiered charging arrangement with increased charges to apply for air, sea and post import consignments with a value of $10,000 or more. The import processing charge will increase for sea consignments lodged electronically from $50.00 to $152.60 and sea consignments lodged manually from $65.75 to $152.60. The charges for air and post consignments lodged electronically will increase from $40.20 to $122.10 and for air and post consignments lodged manually; the charges will increase from $48.85 to $122.10.

Import processing charges have not been increased since 2005-06 and the new increased charges will now recover all import processing costs associated with the ACBPS's cargo and trade related activities. The previous government agreed to a tiered charging structure to address the issue that low-value imports would experience higher increases in charges as a proportion of their value, due to the import processing charge being a fixed dollar amount.

The charges being made to both broaden the cost base of the import processing charges as well as increasing the charges to be levied on air, sea and post consignments valued at greater than $10,000 will see industry make a greater contribution to the full costs of delivering effective border management and the end-to-end costs of trade and goods delivered into Australia.

It is anticipated that implementing the previous government's revenue measure will generate an estimated additional $674.3 million across the forward estimates. Failing to introduce this measure or any delay in its passage and commencement would have a negative impact on the government's budget balance as this amount has already been factored into the forward estimates.

The changes to the structure of the import processing charges that are contained in this bill comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth's Cost Recovery Guidelines and are consistent with the requirements of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as the revised charges will not 'exceed the approximate cost' of cargo and trade related activities undertaken by the ACBPS.

The import processing charges are collected under taxing legislation, and therefore any revenue collected by the ACBPS is returned to consolidated revenue. The ACBPS receives revenue as part of its annual appropriation to administer cargo and trade related activities.

Debate adjourned.