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Tuesday, 24 March 1987
Page: 1391

Mr BARRY JONES (Minister for Science and Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce)(4.29) —I move:

Excise Tariff Proposals No. 4 (1987) and Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 7 to 9 (1987).

The tariff proposals I have just tabled relate to proposed alterations to the Excise Tariff Act 1921 and the Customs Tariff Act 1982. Excise Tariff Proposals No. 4 (1987) and Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 7 and 8 (1987) formally place before Parliament, as required by law, tariff alterations made by notices published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette during the recent recess. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 7 (1987), operative on and from 10 March 1987, implement the Government's decision on the Industries Assistance Commission's Report on the power electronics industry. The Government has decided on a uniform general tariff rate of 20 per cent for most power electronic goods under reference. Static converters, rectifiers and rectifying apparatus become dutiable at a general tariff rate of 25 per cent for one year and then phase to the long term rate of 20 per cent. All programmable controllers become free of duty and subject to bounty assistance.

The Government has decided not to change the tariff rates on electro-mechanical relays and switchgear as it believes that the Commission had cast its net too widely by regarding these goods as under reference in its inquiry. The 20 per cent rate for the power electronic goods industry aligns its assistance arrangements with those of other electronics-based activities, particularly the communications industry. Excise Tariff Proposals No. 4 (1987), operative on and from 14 March 1987, provide for altered rates of excise duty on certain refined petroleum products resulting from the Government's decisions on the pricing of indigenous crude oil and related issues. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 8 (1987), operative on and from the same date, provide for corresponding alterations to rates of customs duty.

Rates of diesel fuel rebate have also been altered in conjunction with the changes I have just outlined. Eligible primary production continues to attract a 100 per cent duty rebate and the altered rate for eligible mining operations effectively means no change in duty payable.

Customs Tariff Proposals No. 9 (1987), operative on and from 1 April 1986, provide for changes in the duty treatment of goods of New Zealand origin. The operative date of these proposals gives the maximum period available, under Customs regulations, for the payment of refunds of Customs duty on the goods involved.

Mutual agreement has been reached between the Australian and New Zealand governments-if that is not a tautology-that child safety and booster seats used in motor vehicles are not covered by either the provisions of the Australia New Zealand closer economic relations trade agreement furniture arrangement or the ANZCERTA interim arrangement on motor vehicles. Accordingly, such seats should have been subject to the normal liberalisation provisions of Article 4 of the agreement. The 10 per cent tariff currently applying should therefore have commenced phasing from 1 January 1983 and have been removed on and from 1 January 1984. The relevant change in these proposals totally removes the duty.

The current 5 per cent duty on ball point pens and refills of New Zealand origin is also being removed. I see the honourable member for Barker (Mr Porter) looks immensely relieved. This change follows consultation under ANZCERTA to provide liberalised arrangements for these goods. Summaries of alterations contained in these proposals have been prepared and are being circulated for the information of honourable members. May I say that, curiously, these tariff proposals never seem to attract quite the degree of rapt attention in the House that one might normally expect. I commend the proposals to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Porter) adjourned.