Second Reading SpeechSenator Ian Campbell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer)
That these bills be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.
The speeches read as follows-
The Excise Laws Amendment Bill (No 1) 2002 contains amendments to the Excise Act 1901, as well as consequential amendments to the Spirits Act 1906 and the Distillation Act 1901.
The proposed alterations contained in the bill were announced in the Budget and will take effect retrospectively from 7.30pm on 14 May 2002, by legal time in the Australian Capital Territory.
This bill amends the Excise Act 1901 to provide that excise duty on excisable alcoholic beverages is payable on the higher of the labelled alcohol content or the actual alcohol content.
Currently, excise duty is imposed on the actual alcohol content, not the labelled content, of excisable alcoholic beverages.
The Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code allows for a discrepancy between labelled strength and actual strength for alcoholic beverages consumed in Australia. This bill arises from the Government's concern that certain manufacturers were gaining a competitive advantage by deliberately labelling their products at a higher alcohol content than the actual alcohol content while paying excise duty on the actual content.
Amendments to the Excise Act 1901 will also allow the CEO (Commissioner of Taxation) to determine, by instrument in writing, rules for working out the percentage by volume of alcohol in the beverage. These rules will be able to take into account that in some classes of alcoholic beverage, there may be natural variations in the alcoholic strength of batches of product, which are beyond the control of the manufacturer.
Amendments to the Spirits Act 1906 and the Distillation Act 1901 are consequential to changes to the Excise Act 1901. The amendments remove a previous reference to how the volume of alcohol should be physically measured and substitutes references to the new sections in the Excise Act 1901. The new references provide that excise duty on excisable alcoholic beverages is payable on the higher of the labelled alcohol content or the actual alcohol content, or ascertained in accordance with the rules (if any) for working out the percentage by volume of alcohol in the beverage. These rules may be determined by the CEO, by instrument in writing.
Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.
I commend the bill.