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Monday, 17 June 1996
Page: 1645

Senator KEMP (Manager of Government Business in the Senate)(6.49 p.m.) —in reply—I thank Senator Margetts for her remarks. I think it is recognised that in the first sittings of a new government there are certain needs, which were alluded to by her colleague in relation to the previous bill for which we were seeking exemption.

In relation to the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 1), I would have to say to Senator Margetts that if this bill is not dealt with in these sittings, there will be a delay in the implementation of measures, which will cause a shortfall in the budget revenue collected. This will have a significant impact on the government's budget deficit reduction program, which I think all of us recognise is an important imperative. Backdating the implementation to 1 July 1996 in a later bill is not considered feasible.

Delay of the Customs Amendment Bill 1996 will also create uncertainty in the business community where the expectations are that the changes will be in place on 1 July this year as announced. The need for earlier amendments to the tariff concession system was anticipated, but the intervention of the election and the announcements of further changes to the tariff concession system during the election period, to a large extent addressed in the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 1) 1996, prevented earlier action being taken.

Question resolved in the affirmative.