House of Representatives

Excise Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2002

Second Reading Speech

Mr SLIPPER (Fisher-Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Excise Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2002 contains amendments to the Excise Tariff Act 1921.

Some of the amendments contained in the bill have been previously tabled as Excise Tariff Proposals Nos 1, 2 and 3 of 2002. The proposals now require incorporation in the Excise Tariff Act. A further amendment to remove product stewardship oil products from the application of the indexation provisions of the Excise Tariff Act has also been included. Complementary changes to customs legislation are being addressed through Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2002.

This bill contains various government initiatives. The special provisions for emulsified diesel-water blends are an environmental initiative designed to encourage clean fuel technology. Amendments in the bill allow the water component of emulsified diesel-water fuel blends produced by licensed excise manufacturers to be free of excise duty. The changes commenced on 25 October last year.

The exemptions from the product stewardship oil levy support the original intention of the levy to reduce the impact of waste oil on the environment. The changes exempt from the levy those products which have been identified to be solely used for the manufacture of other products and do not result in waste oil. The amendments commenced on 15 April 2002.

The change to beer excise rates is a measure agreed with the states and territories which replaces various state subsidies for low alcohol beer, with national assistance now delivered through the mechanism of lower excise rates. Amendments in the bill introduce new rates of excise duty for certain beer which commenced on 1 July 2002.

The removal of the indexation provisions from oils provides for consistency of treatment between petroleum fuels and certain oils for non-fuel use, and reduces costs to business. The amendments in the bill give effect to the government's decision by altering the indexation provisions of the Excise Tariff Act to exclude all oil products from the application of the provisions for the first indexation period following royal assent-that is, commencing on 1 February 2003 and any subsequent indexation period.

The then government introduced the automatic six-monthly indexation of excise in 1983. On 30 June 2001, legislation took effect that abolished the half-yearly indexation of fuel excise. An inconsistency arose as a result of this legislation, which covered petroleum products but not oils and lubricants dutiable under the product stewardship oil arrangements. Abolition of indexation in respect of oil products will restore consistency between the treatment of fuels and oils for non-fuel use, and further reduce costs to business.

Full details of the measures in the bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill and present the explanatory memorandum.