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Thursday, 4 December 2003
Page: 24040


Mr FITZGIBBON (10:39 AM) —I rise to speak in this cognate debate on the National Residue Survey Excise Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Transactions) Bill 2003 and the National Residue Survey Customs Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Exports) Bill 2003. I will commence my contribution with some comments on the National Residue Survey Excise Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Transactions) Bill 2003. As the minister indicated in his second reading speech, the purpose of the first bill is to correct the rate of National Residue Survey levy applicable on certain exports of lambs. The amendments to the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Act 1998 validate the levy already collected at an agreed rate of 8c per head first set in June 1998 in respect of lamb exports with a value of more than $75 under the Primary Industries Levies and Charges (National Residue Survey Levies) Amendment Regulations 1998. It is surprising, to say the least, that this drafting error has been in place for some years without correction—in fact, since 1 July 2000. I would appreciate an explanation from the minister as to why this problem has remained uncorrected for so long. I note that the Sheep Meat Council of Australia and its member organisations are committed to an NRS transaction levy rate of 8c per head for lamb exports with a value of more than $75. I note that the Sheep Meat Council of Australia has formally requested that this drafting fault be corrected. I would also like to know when the request was made. The levy recovers the cost of the lamb industry's residue monitoring program, which is required for market access. Labor supports the bill.

The second bill is the National Residue Survey Customs Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Exports) Bill 2003. The purpose of this bill is to amend the National Residue Survey (Customs) Levy Act 1998 so as to validate the levy already collected in respect of lambs with a sale price of more than $75 per head. The bill is complementary to the National Residue Survey (Excise) Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Transactions) Bill 2003, and once again Labor is happy to support the bill.