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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5292


Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce) (10.34 a.m.) —I move:

  That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment to the Bill:

Schedule 4, page 9, after the heading "Amendments of Schedule 4" insert the following amendment:

"1. Omit item 12, substitute:

  `12Aids and appliances for people with disabilities, as prescribed by by-law—

    Free'.".

Honourable senators will recall that on Wednesday, 11 November 1992, I announced that the Government would provide concessional entry for imported baby marche shoes needed by children in their early years suffering from spina bifida. Today I am bringing forward this request for an amendment to the Bill to meet that commitment by modifying item 12 of part I of schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1987.

  Currently, item 12 allows for the duty free importation of certain goods specially designed for the use of blind, deaf and dumb persons. The existing provisions will be amended by extending concessional entry to individuals with disabilities and to non-profit organisations that import such products but do not qualify for existing concessions. The guidelines for the operation of the new arrangements preclude the benefit extending to commercial operations, thereby retaining the intended scope of the government policy on concessions for the disabled. Details of the amendment have been included in a supplementary explanatory memorandum which has been circulated for the information of honourable senators.

  I should add that this question of aids for the disabled was considered by the Industry Commission and somehow in the course of that consideration this issue was overlooked. It was drawn to my attention by Senator Herron and it is consequent upon his drawing the issue to our attention that this amendment is made. I commend the amendment to the Bill. I table a supplementary explanatory memorandum relating to the Government amendment to this Bill.