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Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Customs) Charge) Validation Bill 2001

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1998-1999-2000-2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

DRIED VINE FRUITS (RATE OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY (CUSTOMS) CHARGE) VALIDATION BILL 2001

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Judith Troeth)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

The Bill seeks to amend the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Regulations 1999 to clarify the rate of charge intended to be struck on dried vine fruits that were exported from 1 January 2000.  The Bill validates regulations that were established to retrospectively reduce the rate of export charge on dried vine fruits exported in that period.

 

The Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Customs) Charge) Validation Bill 2001 has the effect of reducing the charge paid by dried fruit processors for the purposes of marketing dried fruit in Australia and internationally.  The Bill proposes to validate regulations that purported to fix retrospectively the rate of the primary industry customs charge on dried vine fruits, and for related purposes.

 

Up until 30 June 1999 there was a customs charge imposed on dried vine fruits under the Horticultural Export Charge Act 1987 [the old Act].  The Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection (Dried Vine Fruits) Regulations set the rate for the charge at $10.00 per tonne.

 

The old Act was repealed on the commencement of the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Act 1999 [the new Act].  The repeal of the old Act would normally have had the effect that regulations made under it (ie the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection (Dried Vine Fruits) Regulations) would cease to be in force.  However, the Regulations were kept in force by transitional arrangements under the new Act.

 

It was decided to reduce the rate of charge on dried vine fruits from $10.00 per tonne to $7.00 per tonne with effect from 1 January 2000.  The method chosen was to repeal the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection (Dried Vine Fruits) Regulations and amend the Primary Industries Customs Charges Regulations 1999 to impose a charge of $7.00 per tonne.  However, since the amendments and repeals were carried out some time after 1 January 2000 the amendments and repeals were necessarily retrospective.

 

Under normal circumstances, the regulations imposing the new levy or charge would be invalid because of subsection 48(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .  That legislation invalidates any regulation that is expressed to take effect at a time before it is gazetted and operates to the disadvantage of any person other than the Commonwealth.

 

However, prior to the development of the regulations amending the rate of charge, the Office of Legislative Drafting (OLD) provided advice to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to the effect that in this case, the proposed regulations did not contravene the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .  Subsequent advice has, however, raised concerns about the validity of the regulations.  Accordingly, the OLD has advised that the prudent course is to validate the regulations via this proposed Bill.  This misdescription has only been notified recently and thus no amending regulations were sought earlier as was the case with the excise levy.  Therefore, the operative rate of charge has not been reduced, as was thought, so it is necessary for this Bill to commence from 1 January 2000. .

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

As the intent of this Bill is to reduce the rate of charge struck on dried vine fruits, from 1 January 2000, the Levies Revenue Service has attempted to minimise any impact on levy payers whilst the situation has remained unresolved and accordingly the actual rate of charge applied to collections was reduced to $7.00 per tonne from the original gazettal in September 2000.  Accordingly, the monetary size of any refunds will be minimal.

 



 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

1.                   Short title

The short title of the Bill is the Dried Vine Fruits (Rate of Primary Industry (Customs) Charge) Validation Act 2001 .

2.                   Commencement

The commencement date is set to be on the day that it receives Royal Assent .

3.                   Application of Bill

Clause 3 provides that subsection 48(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 is taken not to have applied to Schedule 1 to the Primary Industries (Customs) Charges Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.1) ( Statutory Rules 2000 No.236 ) .  This ensures that the reduction in the levy rate could be applied prior to amendments to the regulations being gazetted.  The purpose of this bill is to validate amendments to the regulations which facilitated a reduction in the export charge for dried fruit from $10.00 to $7.00 per tonne from 1 January 2000. 

 

The reduction in the charge rate is advantageous to levypayers and the only rights adversely effected are those of the Commonwealth in accordance with subsection 48(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .