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Thursday, 25 March 1999
Page: 4366


Mr WILLIAMS (Attorney-General) (9:46 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill proposes to amend the Import Processing Charges Act 1997 by introducing a new screening charge in relation to cargo reported under the High Volume Low Value Reporting Scheme outlined in Customs Amendment Bill (No.2) 1999. The screening charge was introduced in 1997 as a cost recovery measure. It is charged on each air cargo consignment valued at less than $250. Such a consignment must be reported to Customs, although it does not require a Customs entry.

This bill proposes to introduce a reduced screening charge for people who are eligible to join the High Volume Low Value Reporting Scheme. At present, people reporting high volume low value consignments pay $2.40 for each consignment. Under the proposed scheme, people reporting such consignments will pay an amount of $45 for each bulk consignment put together by those transporting the consignments to Australia.

This reduced screening charge option would be available for two types of consignments. Documents, such as courier mail, legal documents and intra-company correspondence is one type. The other is mail order consignments. In relation to both types of consignments, those reporting the cargo are to ensure that each consignment does not exceed $250 in value. They must also ensure that the customs duty and sales tax payable does not exceed $50. Due to these restrictions, consignments eligible for a reduced screening charge payment will pose a low revenue risk to Customs.

As a result of the proposed reduced screen charge option, Customs will not have to devote the same amount of resources to screening high volume low value consignments as it will to consignments reported outside the proposed scheme. This saving in resources is reflected in the difference between the bulk consignment screening charge and the individual consignment screening charge.

I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum to the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr McClelland) adjourned.