House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Statements by Members

Tobacco Regulation

1:41 pm

Photo of Damian DrumDamian Drum (Nicholls, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this afternoon to talk about the rise of the illegal tobacco trade in Australia. My electorate of Nicholls is one of the worst affected by the sale, the production and, more importantly, the growth of illegal tobacco products. Recently we had a raid that seized $630,000. We had a raid that wiped out 35 acres of illegal tobacco—plants worth $20 million. We know the sites of 20 illegal retailers of these tobacco products.

Recently there was a task force involving Victoria Police, Australian Border Force and the ATO which conducted a whole series of raids. I congratulate them for doing that. When you look at this issue, it's the state police that are best placed to have the capability to make a real dent in the illegal tobacco trade. This is a $3.4 billion loss in excise tariffs to the Australian people—to our workforce, to the taxpayers. We lose $3.4 billion every year because the illegal tobacco trade is as easy and as rife as it is. The slap on the wrist that these people get is disgraceful. I'm calling for a national summit, where we can get the states around the table, they can harmonise their laws, and they can make sure that the task force is put in place and that illegal tobacco is stopped once and for all.