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Customs Budget 2000: more ad-hockery and unprepared for the GST.

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Customs Budget 2000 - More Ad-Hockery And Unprepared For The GST Duncan Kerr - Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs

Media Statement - 10 May 2000

Customs, the first Government agency to have to deal with the GST, will not be ready by 1 July, and there is nothing being done to rectify this serious problem," Duncan Kerr, Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs, said today.

In the Minister's own words, the Australian Customs Service - the agency that must be ready for the GST on 1 July because it has to start collecting the GST from day one - is not ready for it. For the first three months will be processing forms manually.

"At least 8,000 applications for refunds of incorrectly paid import duty, additional payments, and other corrections to GST related processing of imports will have to be done BY HAND by Customs.

"Customs' responsibility to collect the GST will commence at midnight of 30 June. It will also be responsible to process untold volumes of tourists' refunds of GST paid on goods purchased while in Australia. Totally disregarding the admission by Customs that it will have to process forms manually for the first three months, no specific additional funding is allocated to recognise the pressure this will put on Customs' resources.

"Instead, the budget throws another band-aid on coastal surveillance and border protection.

"Despite some dire warnings of lack of focus and cooperation between agencies from the Australian Auditor-General in a report into Coastwatch released last month, the Budget announces the leasing of one more vessel and nothing more. And this vessel is only to be used to transport illegal immigrants who have been detained. It will not enhance Coastwatch's surveillance capability one bit.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.