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Thursday, 29 June 2000
Page: 15998


Senator TROETH (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (12:45 PM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

This Bill seeks to amend the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection (Vegetable) Regulations to clarify the rate of levy intended to be struck on vegetables that were grown and processed by the producer, between 1 March 1996 and 30 June 1999.

The Bill gives effect to a Government and Industry agreement that the procedure used for calculating the levy on vegetables grown and self-processed should be based on the cost of goods sold (using Australian Accounting Standards in force immediately before the vegetables were processed) rather than the inflated value added price at first point of sale (after processing).

The vegetable levy is intended to be imposed on fresh vegetables, but, in the circumstances described, these vegetables were processed first, and therefore had a significantly higher value added price at their first of sale and thus attract a higher than normal levy assessment. This is considered to be unfair.

The Bill recognises the situation for growers/processors who process vegetables and where there is no sale prior to the harvested product being converted into another good (such as processing cucumbers into pickles).

The Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection (Vegetable) Regulations provided that where it was not feasible to use a surrogate market price, the calculation of levy payable would be based on data from the organization's financial records to substantiate the basic product value prior to processing, using the Australian Accounting Standards calculation of Cost of Goods Sold.

The rate of levy is being re-set to 0.5% of this value.

As levy on vegetables grown and self-processed after 1 July 1999 is imposed under Schedule 15 to the Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999, that levy assessment is unaffected by this Bill.

The value for calculating the levy is now either the actual sale price at the first point of sale or the cost of goods sold, depending on circumstances. This Bill ensures that all vegetable levy payers (since the start of the levy) are treated equally.

The Bill does not create any new administrative burden for levy payers.