Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator the Honourable Christopher Martin Ellison)
Outline and financial impact
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Customs Act 1901 (the Customs Act) and the Import Processing Charges Act 2001 (the IPC Act) to repeal self assessed clearance declaration charge and screening charge. This Bill is one of two in the legislative package to restructure the cost recovery regime for import related services.
The IPC Act introduces new cost recovery arrangements to support changes to the management and processing of cargo by the Australian Customs Service (Customs) that are contained in the Customs Legislation Amendment and Repeal (International Trade Modernisation) Act 2001 (the ITM Act). These cost recovery arrangements give continuing effect to the Government's decision to fully recover the cost of imports processing by Customs. The IPC Act and ITM Act were enacted in 2001 but the charging provisions of these Acts have not commenced and are due to commence in the second half of 2005.
Two of the charges that are imposed by the IPC Act are self-assessed clearance declaration (SAC) charge and screening charge. These charges would be imposed on low value consignments imported into Australia. The SAC charge would be imposed on a declaration made under section 71AAAB of the Customs Act and the amount of charge would be, in most circumstances, $2.15 per declaration. Where a SAC is made by a cargo reporter in respect of 21 or more reportable documents, the amount of the charge would be $45. The screening charge is imposed on a special cargo reporter who communicates an abbreviated cargo report to Customs. The amount of the screening charge would also be $45.
The Government has decided to streamline the total charging package to minimise the administrative burden on industry in relation to charges on low value consignments. In order to maintain full cost recovery of import processing, the cost of processing low value consignments will be incorporated into the restructured charges imposed on the processing of electronic import declarations and warehouse declarations for goods imported into Australia. The restructured charges are being imposed in the Import Processing Charges Amendment Bill 2005. The import industry strongly supports the proposed amalgamation of these charges.
These amendments are consistent with Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines whereby charges that detract from administrative simplicity are eliminated.
The repeal of SAC charge and screening charge will have no financial impact as the outcome is to remove charges that, had they been implemented, would have recovered an estimated $9.2 million per annum in relation to low value consignments. The cost of processing low value consignments will be incorporated into the restructured charges imposed on the processing of electronic import declarations and warehouse declarations.