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Tuesday, 7 June 1994
Page: 1372

Senator MURPHY —My question is directed to the Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction. In last month's industry statement which formed part of the government's white paper, Working Nation, the government announced that the administration of the duty drawback and tariff export concession schemes would be streamlined to give manufacturers easier access to duty free components. Can the minister advise the Senate what progress has been made in implementing these changes?

Senator SCHACHT —One of the areas in which industry made representations to the government in its white paper initiatives was the improvement of the administration of the duty drawback scheme and the Texco scheme. The duty drawback scheme enables exporters who import goods which attract a tariff to re-export the manufactured good and draw back the duty paid. Texco is a scheme whereby approved manufacturers can get the concession up front. Industry had complained that the schemes were not well known, particularly by small and medium size enterprises, and that there were difficulties in administration. The government has accepted suggestions from industry and streamlined the procedures. We believe that the arrangements we have now put in place will put more emphasis on the Texco scheme—that is, people getting the concession up front as they import the good and not claiming it later on. We believe this will obviously be an advantage for business.

  The Customs Service, which will be administering these schemes, has already issued the appropriate notices about their coming into operation. We have prepared information on the changes to go out to industry. All customs officers in the relevant section of the service have been fully briefed about the adjustments to be made—particularly the need to be speedy in processing the claims and to audit strictly on the basis of risk management—and the documentation required is to be simplified in a client-easy way.

  Both the Customs Service and the Department of Industry, Science and Technology are developing a publicity campaign to draw these new reforms to the attention of industry. So far the response has been very good from industry, and we believe that this particular initiative in the white paper will further enhance the theme of the government to make Australia an export oriented economy, encouraging particularly small and medium size enterprises to get into the export business and therefore improve the economic strength of Australia. The Customs Service and my department, DIST, both welcome responses from industry and encourage all involved in industry to come forward if they think they have a relevant claim—particularly on the Texco concession.