1 year ago




60 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 Second Reading Senator PAYNE (New South Wales—Minister for Defence) (17:25): I move: That these bills be now read a second time. I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard. Leave granted. The speeches read as follows— CUSTOMS AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2016 Second Reading Speech The Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 is an omnibus Bill that proposes a number of changes to the Customs Act, as well as amendments to the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act, and the Maritime Powers Act. The amendments proposed in Schedule 1 of the Bill will allow regulations to be made so that export permits for defence and strategic goods can be revoked where, in the opinion of the Defence Minister, the exportation of those goods would prejudice Australia's national security, defence or international relations. After this amendment to the Customs Act commences, the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 will need to be amended to give effect to this power. Following feedback from participants throughout the pilot phase, Schedule 2 of the Bill will further streamline the accreditation process for the Australian Trusted Trader programme, by amending the Customs Act to remove the requirement that the Comptroller-General of Customs enter into an agreement with an entity that confers interim trusted trader status. This is being done at the suggestion of industry, and will reduce the regulatory burden on businesses seeking accreditation under the Australian Trusted Trader programme, and incentivise greater industry participation. The Customs Act does not currently contain any mechanism by which an owner of goods can be exempt from liability to pay the import declaration processing charge. Schedule 3 of the Bill will amend the Customs Act to allow a determination that certain parties or goods are exempt from liability to pay this charge. These amendments will allow Australia to comply with international agreements and treaties involving the application of fees and charges at the border. These amendments ensure that people who pay the charge but are exempt from doing so are able to have their payment refunded. Schedule 4 of the Bill will amend the Customs Act to extend the circumstances in which a person can apply to move, alter or interfere with goods for export that are subject to customs control. Outwards duty-free goods, including those issued under the current duty-free 'sealed bag scheme' require the same screening as any other baggage of travellers on international flights and voyages. Screening staff at an international gateway airport are required to screen all liquids, aerosols and gels presented at a departure screening point. If an alarm is triggered while screening the goods, the goods are required to be re-screened. If the item is a duty-free item, this means removing it from the sealed duty-free packaging. However, the opening of sealed dutyfree bags and/or tampering with the contents without permission while they are subject to customs control is an offence punishable under the Customs Act. These amendments will allow screening authorities to apply for permission to open sealed duty-free bags for re-screening without breaching the Customs Act. Granting this permission will be relevant at international gateway airports, such as Melbourne, where departure screening occurs prior to customs processing. Schedule 5 of the Bill will amend the Customs Act to remove unnecessary requirements for producers when demonstrating that they have made goods in Australia. Currently, when Australian manufacturers apply to have a tariff concession order revoked, or object to the making of a tariff concession order, they must meet two tests. They must demonstrate that at least 25 percent of factory costs of substitutable goods occur in Australia and that a substantial process of manufacture is also undertaken in Australia. Where a substantial process of manufacture in Australia is proved, the Australian content always exceeds the 25 percent threshold as a matter of fact. Therefore, this requirement is to be removed. Providing evidence of factory costs requires detailed and confidential company accounting information and is a significant and costly administrative burden for manufacturers. Its removal is consistent with the Government's deregulation agenda. Schedule 5 of the Bill also clarifies the requirements for Australian producers of made-to-order capital equipment when seeking to revoke a tariff concession order, or object to the making of a tariff concession order. If the tariff concession order relates to goods that are made-to-order capital equipment, Australian manufacturers need only demonstrate that they have the capacity to produce substitutable goods. Australian producers of made-to-order capital equipment do not need to have actually made substitutable goods the subject of a TCO application or revocation. The amendment also extends the evidentiary window for a local manufacturer to demonstrate capability of production of substitutable goods from 2 years to 5 years. The current period of 2 years is often insufficient for an Australian manufacturer to demonstrate such capability in relation to large-scale capital works such as unique mining machinery, given the amount of time and labour involved in such manufacture. Amendments to the Customs Act proposed in schedule 6 of the Bill will repeal an obsolete provision relating to the collection of duty on goods imported for a temporary purpose. CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 61 Schedule 7 of the Bill amends the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act to allow an officer to inspect and examine goods that are, or that the officer reasonably believes are, goods prescribed by the regulations made under that Act which are imported, and allows those Regulations to prescribe penalties, not exceeding 50 penalty units, for offences against those Regulations. These amendments reflect modern drafting practices. The amendments proposed in Schedule 8 of the Bill are intended to confirm the Government's clear intent that the powers under the Maritime Powers Act are able to be exercised in the course of passage through or above the waters of another country in a manner consistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Finally, Schedule 9 of the Bill will repeal the Customs (Tariff Concession System Validations) Act 1999 and the Import Processing Charges (Amendment and Repeal) Act 2002 as these Acts are now redundant. I commend the Bill to the Chamber. CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT BILL 2016 Second Reading Speech 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. SUPERANNUATION AMENDMENT (PSSAP MEMBERSHIP) BILL 2016 Second Reading Speech The Superannuation Amendment (PSSAP Membership) Bill 2016 (the Bill) enables members of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP) who move to non-Commonwealth employment to choose to remain a contributory member of PSSAP. The PSSAP, which was established on 1 July 2005, is the current default fund for new Commonwealth employees and employees of prescribed Commonwealth entities. As a fully funded accumulation scheme, the PSSAP provides more modern, flexible superannuation arrangements than the older Commonwealth defined benefit superannuation schemes, all of which are now closed to new members. At present PSSAP members are unable to remain as contributory members when they move to non-Commonwealth employment. They must either maintain multiple superannuation accounts or consolidate their superannuation by moving the monies in their PSSAP account to another superannuation account. Both of these options involve additional administration costs for the member. For members who decide to maintain multiple superannuation accounts, these additional costs are ongoing. The changes in the Bill address this issue by enabling PSSAP members who move to non-Commonwealth employment to maintain contributory membership. These persons will form a new sub-category of ordinary employer-sponsored member of PSSAP, referred to in the Bill as 'former Commonwealth ordinary employer-sponsored members', and their new employers will become 'designated employers'. The changes will better align PSSAP with superannuation schemes in the superannuation industry, which commonly enable members to remain contributory members when they change employment. They are also consistent with broader government superannuation reforms and initiatives to lower the costs that members incur for the administration and management of their superannuation accounts. The Bill places some restrictions on maintaining contributory PSSAP membership. A person must have been a Commonwealth employee or office holder for a continuous period of at least 12 months. They must also be engaged in non-Commonwealth employment in respect of which their employer has a Superannuation Guarantee obligation. Those who move from Commonwealth employment to certain other roles with the Commonwealth – for example, service with the Australian Defence Force – will not be affected by the changes. They will continue to be subject to the Commonwealth superannuation arrangements specifically established for persons in these roles. CHAMBER

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