Senate debates

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Quarantine Charges (Collection) Bill 2014, Quarantine Charges (Imposition — Customs) Bill 2014, Quarantine Charges (Imposition — Excise) Bill 2014, Quarantine Charges (Imposition — General) Bill 2014; Second Reading

1:10 pm

Photo of Don FarrellDon Farrell (SA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to indicate that the opposition will be supporting the Quarantine Charges (Collection Bill) 2014. The Quarantine Charges (Collection Bill) 2014 forms part of a legislative package which is designed purely as a cost recovery mechanism. It will realign Australia's biosecurity and quarantine imports systems with an efficient and effective cost recovery model which is consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines. It also provides authority to collect charges imposed under the Quarantine Charges (Imposition—General) Bill 2014, the Quarantine Charges (Imposition—Excise) Bill 2014 and the Quarantine Charges (Imposition—Customs) Bill 2014.

This legislative package will create an appropriate legal structure for the recovery of costs associated with the indirect biosecurity services undertaken by the Department of Agriculture for the benefit of importers. Furthermore, it provides that the regulations will determine the manner in which the quarantine charges are to be paid and provides the Commonwealth with powers to refuse service in relation to a person who is liable to pay a charge or late payment fee. In doing so, the Commonwealth may create a charge on a good or a vessel and withhold goods that are subject to a charge. Quarantine officers will also be given power to provide appropriate directions in relation to such goods or vessels. If a person engages in conduct that contravenes a direction, the person will be considered to have committed an offence and may be imprisoned, fined or both.

The Commonwealth will have power under this bill to sell goods and vessels to recover outstanding debts; however, this would be in exceptional circumstances and would be commensurate with the level of the debt. To deal with goods or vessels that are abandoned or forfeited, such powers include the ability to take possession, cause them to be sold, destroyed or otherwise disposed of. As I indicated, the opposition is in support of this legislation.


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