Monday, 30 August 2021
Customs Tariff Amendment (Incorporation of Proposals) Bill 2021; Second Reading
I rise to contribute to the debate on the Customs Tariff Amendment (Incorporation of Proposals) Bill 2021. I indicate from the outset that Labor will support this bill. The Customs Tariff Amendment (Incorporation of Proposals) Bill amends the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to incorporate customs tariff proposals that provided concessional rates of customs duty to a number of products. Firstly, the bill will amend and extend the free rate of customs duty for prescribed medical or hygiene products that are capable of use in combating the novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19. The products include face masks, gloves, clothes or gowns, goggles, glasses, eye visors, face shields, soaps, COVID-19 test kits and reagents, viral transport media and disinfectants. This is obviously an important step as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, although it goes without saying that our fight has been made all the harder by the failures of the Morrison government in managing the pandemic. Prime Minister Scott Morrison had two jobs this year: a speedy, effective rollout of the vaccine, and quarantine. He has failed both. As such, this measure is now more necessary than ever.
The bill also lists new items to provide a free rate of customs duty for goods that are for use in the program known as the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. Under the memorandum of understanding for the development of the Joint Strike Fighter, Australia has committed to achieving tax neutrality under the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. However, goods imported for use in this program, such as parts for general use and certain textile items, may have an applicable rate of customs duty of up to five per cent. As such, this bill will provide a free rate of customs duty for goods, ensuring we meet our obligations under the MOU.
The bill will also add new items to provide a free rate of customs duty for prescribed motor vehicles and motor vehicle components for research and development activities by automotive service providers previously registered under the Automotive Transformation Scheme. Registrations of automotive service providers under the Automotive Transformation Scheme ended on 31 March 2021, by operation of the Automotive Transformation Scheme Regulations 2010. As such, automotive service providers are no longer able to access the concessional rate of customs duty. The explanatory memorandum to this bill states:
Automotive service providers maintain a significant Australian presence, including through the engineering services and design and product development.
The prescribed motor vehicles and components are those which are used in:
… testing, quality control, manufacturing, evaluation or engineering development of motor vehicles designed or engineered, or in the process of being designed or engineered, in Australia by a person who was registered as an automotive service provider under the Automotive Transformation Scheme …
Labor supports all of the measures outlined in this bill. We will move to pass it quickly, and we will not support any amendments in the committee stage. As such, I commend this bill to the Senate.