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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Primary Industry) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The main purposes of this bill are firstly to amend the Excise Act 1901-1952 to give the Department of Customs and Excise certain powers to deal with excisable goods remaining at factories after cancellation or expiry of a licence, and secondly, to exempt from excise duties stores used within Australia on certain aircraft operating overseas. With regard to the first amendment which I have mentioned the House may recall that a similar amendment relating to spirits was contained in the Distillation Bill of 1956, which was considered and passed by honorable members during the last sitting.

It is general practice for manufacturers who cease production' to dispose of remaining stocks of excisable goods prior to thenlicences expiring. On at least one occasion, however, goods liable to excise duty remained at premises after cancellation of a manufacturer's licence by the Minister consequent upon departmental action against the licensee. The law as it now stands does not provide any authority to deal with such goods in these circumstances. It is undesirable therefore that a situation can arise where the department has no direct control over goods on which an excise is imposed, and the amendment proposed by this bill will give collectors of customs the necessary powers in this regard.

In regard to the amendment relating to aircraft stores, it is proposed by this bill to exempt from duty excisable stores used within Australia by aircraft passengers and crew, or for the services of Australian aircraft engaged on an international air service and of foreign aircraft registered in countries which offer similar duty exemptions on stores used by Australian aircraft in those countries. The granting of reciprocal duty exemptions is bound by air transport agreements between the countries concerned, and the Customs Act already embodies legislation on these lines.

The opportunity has been taken also by this bill to remove from the act scales of licence-fees and securities, the amounts of which have since been prescribed in regulations. Further, the forms in which securities may be taken by the department have been widened in line with a proposed amendment of the Customs Act. The bill is submitted for favorable consideration of honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.

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