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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 149

Mr KERIN (Minister for Primary Industry)(11.07) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is associated with other Bills just introduced to amend certain export inspection charge Acts. Its purpose is to allow for an increase in the maximum charge imposed on the inspection of eggs other than eggs in shell. The charge was first imposed on 1 January 1983 in order to recoup 50 per cent of the cost to the Commonwealth of inspecting eggs for export. 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 existing policy.

It is the Government's view that cost recovery principles should apply for commercial type activities, expecially where major beneficiaries of export inspection services are overseas consumers. However, in setting a recovery rate of 50 per cent from industry for the provision of export inspection for all primary produce commodities, the Government has been mindful of the fact that further efficiencies in the delivery of these services are possible of being achieved and therefore considers that the industry should not be expected to pay the full cost of operating the current service.

On the basis of expected exports of eggs in 1983-84 the operative fees specified under the Eggs (Export Inspection Charge) Regulations would recovery more than half the cost of inspecting shell eggs and less than half the cost of inspecting other eggs. Overall, it is estimated that the existing rates of charge would recover $97,000 or 33 per cent of costs. Accordingly it has been decided to lift the effective rate for eggs other than in the shell from $8 per tonne to $16 per tonne and reduce the effective rate for eggs in the shell from $11 per 1,000 dozen to $10 per 1,000 dozen. These new rates should recover half of the costs in a full year. Because the new rate will apply for only part of the year, the recovery will be in the order of $129,000 or 45 per cent of costs.

The change in charges must be seen in the context of rapid changes in inspection procedures. These are being reviewed in conjunction with industry. It is hoped to commence trialling of revised procedures early in 1984. The objective is to achieve efficiency in the use of resources and to reduce costs. The current maximum rates of charge specified in the Eggs (Export Inspection Charge) Act 1982 prevent the operative rate for eggs other than eggs in the shell being increased to a level which would allow 50 per cent recovery. Accordingly, it is proposed that the maximum rate of charge for inspection of eggs for export, other than in the shell be set at $33 per tonne. It will allow for amendments from time to time of the amounts charged for inspection in accordance with changes in the cost of the service provided. I commend this Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr McVeigh) adjourned.