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Wednesday, 9 November 1983
Page: 2467


Mr JOHN BROWN (Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, Minister for Administrative Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Commerce)(11.9) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1983, which is now before the House, proposes amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1982. The Bill contains 11 schedules and is necessary to enact tariff changes which have been introduced into the Parliament in the 1983 Autumn and Budget sittings by Customs Tariff Proposals Nos 2-14 (1983). The Bill also contains two changes which have not previously been introduced into the Parliament. Amendments proposed in the Bill arise in the main from government decisions on the Temporary Assistance Authority report on fluorescent and filament lamps and the following Industries Assistance Commission reports:

Gelatin-developing country preferences;

The Australian tobacco industry;

The commercial by-law system;

Non-electrical absorption type refrigerators and freezers and parts;

Sodium alkylxanthates and potassium alkylxan- thates-developing country preferences;

Transformers-developing country preferences;

Canning fruit;

Certain iron and steel products and certain alloy steel products;

Certain pigment dyestuffs and colour lakes-developing country preferences;

Tableware and certain other goods, of pottery-developing country preferences;

Stranded wire, cables, cordage, ropes, et cetera, of iron or steel wire- developing country preferences.

Other amendments contained in the Bill which have previously been introduced into the Parliament by Customs tariff proposals provide for government decisions relating to:

An increase of 2c per litre in the rate of Customs duty payable on imported aviation gasoline and aviation turbine fuel. This alteration is complementary to a change in the Excise Tariff Act;

An additional 1c per litre surcharge on imported motor spirit and diesel fuel in accordance with the Australian Bicentennial Road Development Trust Fund Act. Again, this alteration is complementary to a change in the Excise Tariff Act;

Duty free entry of certain imports required for approved Australian industry participation programs, including defence offset programs;

Concessions available for goods imported by non-diplomatic trade commissioners, by international organisations and by visiting servicemen of the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand;

Quota provisions for certain footwear; and

A number of administrative changes to reflect correctly the intention, scope, or wording of various provisions of the Customs Tariff Act.

Honourable members will recall that on each occasion when Customs tariff proposals were introduced, the decisions taken by the Government were outlined to the House. The Bill also includes two changes which have not previously been introduced into the Parliament. The first change relates to a revision of section 24 of the Customs Tariff Act which provides for separate rates of duty for different components, parts, ingredients or accessories contained in goods. The change enables the determination, under all circumstances, of the amount of customs duty payable on goods imported under certain tariff classifications in Schedule 3 to the Customs Tariff Act.

The second change inserts section 26A into the Customs Tariff Act to implement the Government's budget decision to index automatically, on a six-monthly basis, Customs tariff rates which incorporate an excise component. Section 26A, as proposed, provides for the relevant Customs tariff rates to be increased by the same amount as the increase in the equivalent item in the excise tariff. This change is complementary to changes proposed in the Excise Tariff Act. The financial impact of those measures in this Bill which complement amendments to the Excise Tariff Act is outlined in my speech on the Excise Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1983. The measures in this category are:

The indexation on a six-monthly basis of Customs tariff rates containing an excise component;

The 2c per litre increase on aviation gasoline and aviation turbine fuel; and

The additional 1c per litre surcharge on imported motor spirit and diesel fuel.

Apart from measures implemented for budgetary and revenue-raising reasons, the Bill contains in the main changes whose principal function is to alter levels of assistance accorded to certain industries. Some of these changes have the secondary effect of increasing or decreasing revenues. The precise revenue effects are difficult to predict as levels of imports and, therefore, the level of customs duty collected, are expected to be affected by such industries assistance decisions. The exact trade impact of these decisions may also not become clear for several months after a tariff change is made. For these reasons , financial impact has been broadly estimated on the assumption of no trade diversion arising from the Government's decisions, as being $3.15m additional revenue in a full financial year. Administrative amendments contained in the Bill are expected to have little financial impact. There are no additional significant costs to the Government associated with the Bill. A summary of amendments for each Schedule of the Bill has been prepared for the information of honourable members. Copies are available in the Bills and Papers Office. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr McVeigh) adjourned.