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Wednesday, 16 February 1977
Page: 157


Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) - I shall take only a couple of minutes to draw to the attention of the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Howard), who is at the table, a matter which a constituent of mine has asked me to raise. The Bureau of Customs, which is under the control of the Minister, has possibly been more affected than other government departments by staff ceilings. The allegation has been made to me that the Bureau has insufficient staff to check the manifests of imports. It is claimed that the Bureau relies to a large extent on the honesty of importers in respect of the number of items, textiles or whatever, that are being imported.

It has been pointed out to me that the Australian population loses in 2 ways. First, the community loses because of the loss of duty that should have been collected. Secondly, goods that are allowed in without the payment of duty but in certain restricted quantities create extra competition for the Australian manufacturers. This claim has been made by someone who is working in the Bureau. I hope that the Minister will look at this matter to see whether there is any substance in the claim or whether anything can be done to check on the method of reconciling the manifests with the quantity of goods imported.







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