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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 148

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry)(11.03) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is associated with other export charge Bills just introduced. The purpose of this Bill is to allow for an increase in the maximum charge imposed on the export inspection of wheat, oats, barley and sorghum. This charge was first imposed on 1 July 1979 in order to recover from exporters approximately half of the total export inspection costs of these products in 1979-80. This Government has carefully reviewed the policy of charging for export inspection and has concluded that there are good grounds for re-endorsement and implementation of the existing policy for 50 per cent recovery of costs.

The fees currently charged for grain have remained unchanged since 1981 and would fall far short of meeting half the current costs of inspection due to inflation, changes in the service provided and changes in throughput. It is estimated that the current rates of charge would recover some $1.3m or 32 per cent of costs. Accordingly, it has been decided to lift the effective rate of charge for bulk and containerised grain and reduce the rate for bagged grain in line with changes in the costs of inspection. Although the new rates of recovery will apply for only part of the year they will cover the larger part of the crop and the recovery is expected to be in the order of $1.9m or 48 per cent of the cost of providing the service.

The current maximum rate specified in the Grain (Export Inspection Charge) Act 1979 would not allow the operative rate necessary to recoup 50 per cent of costs to be established in the Grain (Export Inspection Charge) Regulations. Accordingly, it is proposed to amend the maximum rate in the Act.

The proposed new operative rates to be established by regulation are: Grain shipped in export in bulk, 16.3 cents/tonne; grain shipped for export in bags, 19 cents/tonne; grain shipped for export in containers, 73 cents/tonne.

These compare with existing operative rates of 9.6 cents/tonne for bulk, 40 cents/tonne for bags and 40 cents/tonne for containerised grain. Currently the Act specifies a maximum rate for all grain. In view of the disparity in the cost of inspecting grain shipped in bulk, in bags and in containers it is now proposed to set separate maximums for each mode of shipment. The maximums proposed are: Grain shipped for export in bulk, 33 cents/tonne; grain shipped for export in bags, 40 cents/tonne; grain shipped for export in containers, $1. 46/tonne.

The maximums have been established at approximately twice the proposed operative rate. This will allow for regulatory amendments from time to time of the amounts to be charged for inspection in accordance with the changes in the costs of the service and other factors such as the volume of exports. The Bill also provides for a definition of a container in order to ensure that the higher charges associated with inspection for this mode of transport apply only to what is commonly known as a reusable container. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr McVeigh) adjourned.