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Simplifying tariff concessions

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Friday, 15 July 2011


Australian businesses that import goods will be given more time to concentrate on their everyday operations thanks to a simplified tariff concessions system to be introduced by the Gillard Labor Government.

Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 provides a wide range of tariff concessions, which have the effect of reducing or removing the normal rate of customs duty that would otherwise apply. These concessions lower costs for businesses importing goods, but trying to find the right concession can be a lengthy and complex process.

That is why, in 2010, the Australian Government began public discussions on the rationalisation of the tariff concession regime as part of a comprehensive agenda to reduce the level of unnecessary or poorly designed regulation and deliver better outcomes for business. The consultation process showed that stakeholders, especially business, support a more user-friendly tariff concession regime, including the removal of redundant items.

The Minister Assisting on Deregulation, Senator Nick Sherry, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O’Connor welcomed the reforms to Schedule 4.

“The reforms will deliver significant savings to Australian businesses while maintaining the benefits of current arrangements,” Senator Sherry said.

Senator Carr said “the reforms will remove unnecessary complexity and obsolete provisions, relieving the current burden on Australian businesses.

“Specifically, the reforms will reduce the existing tariff concession schedule to about half the current number of items and improve the clarity and usability of Schedule 4 for business.”

The improvements to Schedule 4 include: • removing items which are either redundant or used rarely;

• consolidating, where possible, those items that have similar coverage and explaining them more clearly (this will not impact the level of concession provided to affected goods); • reviewing and removing obsolete by-laws that list goods under certain items in Schedule 4; and • placing similar items together in the structure of a revised Schedule.

Mr O’Connor said that “as part of the implementation process, Customs and Border Protection will release exposure draft legislation for public consultation before the end of 2011.

“Guidelines for the new Schedule 4 will also be developed in parallel to allow business to transition to the new schedule easily.”

The Government’s announcement successfully completes the Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership between the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and the Minister for Home Affairs. Five Better Regulation Ministerial Partnerships have now been completed. Partnerships form a key part of the Australian Government’s better regulation agenda and have proved effective in ensuring a disciplined and co-ordinated approach to delivering regulatory reform across government.

Media contacts : Minister Carr, 02 6277 7580 Joe Scavo (Minister Sherry’s office) 0413 800 757