Customs Tariff Amendment Bill 2016

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (09:51): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Customs Tariff Amendment Bill 2016 contains four amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995 that will further enhance the operation of certain aspects of this act.

Firstly, the bill will repeal schedule 1 to the act and will enable its contents to instead be included in the Customs Tariff Regulations 2004. Schedule 1 provides for countries and places that are eligible for preferential rates of customs duty for certain goods. Placing these details in a regulation will allow the provisions to be updated in a timelier manner, when required.

Secondly, this bill will remove the expired safeguard provisions relating to the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement from the act. These agricultural safeguard provisions expired on 31 December 2008, and their removal will not affect the collection of customs duties.

Thirdly, the bill will add three new additional notes to schedule 3 of the act to clarify the tariff classification of certain fruits, vegetables and pastas in response to recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal decisions. These new notes will ensure that goods imported into Australia are classified consistently with our trading partners and our international obligations. This amendment will help to minimise administrative costs for importers and will not affect the amount of customs duty payable on such goods.

Finally, this bill will amend the provisions relating to the concessional treatment of goods imported under the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme, which is implemented under item 44 of schedule 4. This scheme was closed to new applicants as part of the 2016-17 budget. Importers that currently have a valid determination will continue to be able to access the scheme until 31 December 2017. At this time all valid determinations will have expired. This bill will provide clarity to importers using this scheme by inserting the end date in item 44.

I commend the bill to the House.