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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 276


Mr IAN MACFARLANE (GroomMinister for Industry) (10:51): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is a government that strongly supports genuine free and fair trade and an open and dynamic market economy. An effective trade-remedies regime is integral to a robust international trading system. It is also critical to our broader plan to boost the competitiveness of Australian manufacturing, as outlined in our August 2013 policy statement.

We are not talking about protectionism but about creating and maintaining a level playing field for all industry in Australia.

Australia's current regime for combating injurious dumping and subsidisation is transparent and complies with our obligations under the World Trade Organization agreements. But there is clearly room to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the system—and that is exactly what we plan to do.

To show we mean business, we are moving responsibility for antidumping matters to the Industry portfolio. This will allow those considering requests for antidumping action to benefit from the considerable experience and knowledge held across the Industry portfolio. It will also free up the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to concentrate on other matters of importance to this government.

Processes have already been put in place to ensure that I, as Minister for Industry, have the power to make decisions on antidumping matters. However, under current Customs legislation, the administrator of Australia's antidumping system—the Anti-Dumping Commission—remains part of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

This bill contains the changes to Customs and other legislation needed to separate the Anti-Dumping Commission from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. This will allow the commission to transfer to the Department of Industry, where it will be better placed.

Speedy passage of this legislation will ensure that the transfer of the antidumping function to the Industry portfolio is completed as soon as possible.

The transfer of antidumping to the Industry portfolio is only the first step in our plan to strengthen Australia's antidumping system. We are committed to further improvements to the system that will boost the competitiveness of Australia's manufacturing sector, enabling it to better perform its critical role in our economy. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.