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Thursday, 12 February 2004
Page: 20146

Senator BUCKLAND (12:52 PM) —The National Residue Survey Customs Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Exports) Bill 2003 and the National Residue Survey Excise Levy Rate Correction (Lamb Transactions) Bill 2003 amend the National Residue Survey (Excise) Act to validate levies already collected under the Primary Industries Levies and Charges (National Residue Survey Levies) Regulations in respect of lambs with a sale price of more than $75 per head. The bills are required to satisfy section 55 of the Constitution, which, in part, provides that `laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only'. The passage of these bills will ensure that the lamb sold on the domestic market is subject to the same levy as lamb sold for export.

The National Residue Survey plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of our raw food products. It was established in the early 1960s in response to growing concerns in major export markets about pesticide residues in meat. Since that time there has been a significant increase in the number of both animal and plant products covered by the survey. The survey is operated on a cost recovery basis with levies on participating industries being the key source of revenue. Survey funds cannot be used to cross-subsidise between participating industries, and each industry program is operated as a separate cost centre.

While Labor is happy to support these bills, I would appreciate some advice from the minister as to when the drafting error that caused the problems we are correcting today was detected. It is my understanding that the drafting error was detected in July 2000. I ask the minister if we can be advised as to why it has taken so long to get the correcting legislation into the parliament. We support the bills.