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Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Page: 1030


Mr RIPOLL (10:03 AM) —I thank the opposition and the parliament for its support of this bill. This is an important amendment which looks at a number of key features of our international competitiveness, which are very important. It is right to say that the legislation was first introduced in 2000 as a program to relieve business specifically from paying customs duty and GST on imported products where those products are then further used and re-sold on as export products themselves. It makes perfect sense to make those adjustments and ensure that Australia remains competitive as a trading nation, and that our customs duty and GST are reflected adequately in the regulations that we have.

The Tradex Scheme Amendment Bill 2010 clarifies the eligibility of particular partnerships for the Tradex Scheme and it removes a number of redundant provisions. It specifically outlines the goods that may be imported and subjected to a process of treatment and then their re-exportation—and how that actually works—and whether they are incorporated in those goods, and the time period. It specifies the process that takes place, and that it must happen within a period of 12 months, for the people importing those goods and accessing the relief that this scheme provides. The current scheme provides about $200 million worth of upfront duty and GST relief to industry—a significant amount on importing and exporting.

What the Tradex Scheme does is make sure that organisations in this country not only remain innovative but also remain competitive. That is something that this government has always had as a priority for its policy development.

I take note too of comments from the member for Indi and her support for the bill. I say to her and to the opposition that the bill, as it reads, is quite simple and the amendments are straightforward. There are no complexities or unintended consequences. It is really just about removing any confusing parts particularly in terms of how it reads for partnerships in relation to the Acts Interpretation Act 1901. It specifically provides that it include a body politic or a corporate as well as an individual.

Of course, while a partnership is a relationship recognised by law, it is also an unincorporated body. Therefore coverage of partnerships under the Tradex Scheme could be considered unclear. While partnerships are not explicitly referred to in the Tradex Scheme in the legislation, they were not and are not intended to be excluded from the scheme itself. The bill clarifies that position and makes clear if there was any confusion in the past.

Also the redundant provision being removed by this bill relates to the transitional arrangements that you would expect in transferring the proceedings from the former scheme, the Texco Scheme, to the Tradex Scheme, which it superseded in 2000 when the new scheme was brought into play by the previous government. These are completely consistent with this government’s approach since 2007 to remove the regulatory burden on business, including small business, and we ought to continue doing that not only as a government but as a parliament.

This bill is being reintroduced. It was introduced earlier this year but due to the House being prorogued for the election it needed to be reintroduced. It is a good bill and is supported by everyone and I commend it to the House.