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Wednesday, 3 October 1984
Page: 1168

(Question No. 1103)


Senator Archer asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce, upon notice, on 4 September 1984:

(1) Was a footwear quota fraud involving an amount in the order of $6m detected in 1983; if so, have there been investigations and/or charges and/or convictions in relation to the fraud.

(2) What statutory penalties are provided for such actions.

(3) What penalties, if any, have been imposed.

(4) What restrictions or penalties, if any, on future imports will be imposed on those committing these frauds.

(5) Do the penalties appropriately meet the profit involved from the alleged frauds.


Senator Button —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Investigations conducted by the Australian Customs Service beginning in 1982 into footwear imported between November 1981 and May 1982, resulted in the finding of alleged evasion of duty. As a result claims totalling approximately $ 6m have been issued.

The investigation culminated in Customs prosecutions being commenced against several importers in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

(2) The Customs Act now provides penalties for evasion of duty of up to 5 times the amount of duty evaded.

(3) The matters have not yet been heard. As such no penalties have yet been imposed.

(4) Upon conviction for an offence, a penalty is imposed by the Court. No additional restrictions or penalties are imposed on future importations by the Customs. However the risks to the revenue posed by manipulating imports under quota are well recognised and appropriate counter-measures have been built into Customs System.

(5) Penalties of up to 5 times the Customs duty evaded clearly strike at the profits to be made from evasion of duty.