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Wednesday, 31 October 1956


Mr OSBORNE (Evans) (Minister for Air) . - I move- [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 8).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1956, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the thirtieth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, be further amended as hereinafter set out, and that, on and after the first day of November, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff 1933-1956 as so amended.

2.   That, without prejudice to the generality of paragraph I of these Proposals, the Governor-General may, from time to time, by Proclamation declare that, from a time and date specified in the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation as are the produce or manufacture of any British or foreign country specified in the Proclamation.

3.   That on and after the time and date specified in a Proclamation issued in accordance with the last preceding paragraph the Intermediate Tariff shall apply to such goods specified in the Proclamation as are the produce or manufacture of a British or foreign country specified in that Proclamation.

4.   That any Proclamation issued in accordance with paragraph 2 of these Proposals may, from time to time, be revoked or varied by a further Proclamation and upon the revocation or variation of the Proclamation, the Intermediate Tariff shall cease to apply to the goods specified in the Proclamation so revoked or, as the case may be, the application of the Intermediate Tariff to the goods specified in the Proclamation so varied, shall be varied accordingly.

5.   That in these Proposals, unless the contrary intention appears - " Proclamation " mean a Proclamation by the Governor-General, or the person for the time being administering the government of the Commonwealth, acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council, and published in the "Commonwealth of Australia Gazette": " the Intermediate Tariff" mean the rates of duty set out in the Schedule to these Proposals, in the column headed " Intermediate Tariff", in respect of goods in relation to which the expression is used.

 

 

[Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment (No. 1).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954 be amended as hereinafter set out, and that, on and after the first day of November, One thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, at nine o'clock in the forenoon, reckoned according to standard time in the Australian Capital Territory, Duties of Customs be collected in pursuance of the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954 as so amended.

 

The tariff proposals I have just presented to the committee propose to vary certain of the import duties specified in the Customs Tariff 1933-1956, and the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 1933-1954. The proposed amendments will, as is usual, take effect as from 9 a.m. to-morrow. The " Summary of Alterations ", now being circulated to honorable members, sets out in concise and convenient form the proposed rates of duty as compared with those at present in operation.

In the main, the proposed amendments are designed to accord increased tariff assistance to those Australian industries which are engaged in the production of furnishing and upholstery fabrics, substitutes for canvas and duck piece goods composed wholly or principally of cotton, and medicinal tablets. Reduced duties are proposed in respect of circular type hosiery for women and girls, and purse frames. These tariff variations, I might say, are based on the findings of the Tariff Board in comparatively recent reports. At a later stageI shall table the reports concerned. Other tariff variations are also proposed andI will refer to them later on.

When tabling the Tariff Board reports, to which I have already referred, I shall also avail myself of the opportunity to table eight further reports of the board. Of these, six reports relate to the following: -

Fish preserved in tins,

Bags, sacks, packs and bales,

Forged steel spades,

Single and multi-tyned cultivators,

Locomotives as used underground in mines, and

Pneumatic hand tools, and, in each instance, the board has recommended that no increase be made in the existing import duties. The two remaining reports relate to women's and children's socks, and chemicals of the thiocarbamyl type. In these reports the board has recommended the imposition of increased duties, but the Government feels that it would be undesirable, in the overall national interest, to adopt the findings made by its advisory tariff tribunal in these particular cases. Chemicals of the thiocarbamyl type are used extensively in spraying preparations for the control of fungal diseases by the fruitgrowing industry. They also have some use in the rubber industry, but their predominant use is in primary industry.

Honorable members will observe that provision is being made in the proposals for the duty-free admission from any country of goods which are imported for repair or alteration and which are intended to be returned to the country whence imported. This proposed provision will replace the existing concession in the Tariff Schedule which is confined solely to secondhand goods owned by persons resident in the Territory of Papua and NewGuinea. The Government recognizes the growing capacity of Australian industry to cater for repair work, and the need for some of our industries, for example those producing refrigerators, when seeking export markets, to offer a " factory guarantee service ". The Government feels that industry's path in obtaining orders of this sort, and thus assisting in the Commonwealth's export drive, will be made easier if the somewhat irksome and rigid requirements for deposits of duty, or guarantees, undertakings and the like, are cased when goods are brought into Australia for repair and return. Moreover, action in this direction should assist and encourage the further economic integration of countries adjacent to Australia. The existing provisions governing the admission into Australia of certain printed catalogues, price lists and advertising matter not designed to advertise the sale or hire of goods by, or the services of, any person in Australia, and samples of negligible value, have been varied to provide for their dutyfree admission from all sources. The proposed amendments give effect to the provisions of the international convention to facilitate the importation of commercial samples and advertising material to which Australia is a signatory. Existing Australian customs law and practice are substantially in line with the provisions of the convention. The action now proposed will demonstrate our good faith to other contracting parties to the convention and, at the same time, will do away with the need, in most cases, to collect insignificant amounts of duty on small quantities of printed advertising matter forwarded through the post to individuals in Australia. The committee might know that a columnist in one of the Sydney newspapers was complaining about the necessity to pay small amounts of duty on this advertising matter. Perhaps the gentleman concerned might think that he has quite abnormally fast results from his remarks.


Mr Calwell - But he has not?


Mr OSBORNE - No. This action was decided upon some time ago. The Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals are complementary to the principal Customs Tariff Proposals insofar as they relate to furnishing fabrics containing wool. Their introduction is necessary in order that the Commonwealth may maintain its international commitments in accordance with the principles laid down in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. 1 am unable, at this stage, to indicate when the opportunity will be available to debate these proposals. I hope that such an opportunity will present itself in the early stages of the next parliamentary sitting. I may point out to the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, that every time I have tabled any proposals he has complained about the time lag between their presentation and the resumption of the debate on them. The last customs tariff proposals were, I think, debated and disposed of within a fortnight of their adoption being moved, and these are the only ones which are now before the committee and not debated.

Progress reported.







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