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Thursday, 10 November 2016
Page: 2482

Senator DODSON (Western Australia) (13:54): Labor supports the Customs Tariff Amendment (2017 Harmonized System Changes) Bill 2016 and Customs Amendment (2017 Harmonized System Changes) Bill 2016, which amend the Customs Act to implement changes arising from the fifth review of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. The Customs Amendment (2017 Harmonized System Changes) Bill 2016, the non-tariff bill, also makes minor amendments to provide for collections of the correct import duties for biofuels under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. We note that the government is cutting it entirely fine with the timing of these bills. The changes authorised by the fifth review have to be in place by 1 January 2017. So Labor is willing to facilitate the passage of these bills.

Australia is a member of the World Customs Organization and is part of its harmonising system, and it is important that we remain compliant. This country made a significant contribution to the fifth review, and government agencies and industry groups were consulted during the review process. The tariff bill makes approximately 950 amendments to create change and clarification in tariff codes. Australia uses codes based on a six-digit international classification supplemented by two additional digits used by the Bureau of Statistics for its own purposes. Under the changes, tariff codes for items no longer widely used, such as typewriters, are removed and items for new technologies are included. There are new subheadings requested by the International Narcotics Control Board to improve the monitoring and control of narcotics and psychotropic drugs. The amendment will also allow for better monitoring of the trade in some fish species and tropical woods by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. Labor is pleased to support the bills.