The Federal Government Budget for 2008-2009 delivered last
evening (13 May 2008) includes a number of commitments and
comments which may be of interest to those in industry. A
preliminary summary of issues of potential interest are set out
The Federal Government has delivered on its election
promise regarding the establishment of new container
examination facilities. The budget includes an allowance of
$16 million over 4 years to Customs to increase the
inspection and examination of containers at regional
containers at regional ports in Launceston, Darwin,
Townsville and Newcastle to identify potentially dangerous
goods and other border risks as well as assist in revenue
management. Doubtlessly, Customs will provide more details as
to the manner of expenditure and operation of these
facilities whether they will entail the construction of new
CEF such as those contained in Australia's major
ports or whether alternative facilities will be
Customs will also receive additional funding to augment
existing funding for border protection in northern
The Government intends to address an
"unintended" outcome where importers avoid paying
excise-equivalent customs duty on certain imported products
by obtaining a TCO.
The Budget includes savings of $14.907 million from
Customs based on an election commitment to apply a one-off 2%
efficiency dividend across Government. Industry will be
interested as to where this efficiency will be secured.
The Portfolio Budget Statement includes details on some
KPIs for Customs. In relation to revenue and compliance
assurance activity this includes the intention to:
audit 55% (or more) of import transactions where
revenue was adjusted by $1,000 or more;
audit at least 75% of export transactions where the FOB
value was adjusted by $5,000 or more; and
undertake compliance visits or checks of at least 60%
of licensed premises (including warehouses and CTO).
Customs anticipate administering collection of $6.297
billion in customs duty in 2008/2009 being an increase of
$310 million over the corresponding figure in 2007/2008 due
to a combination of factors including continued strong import
growth for motor vehicles and excise equivalent goods offset
by moderating growth in TCF in general imports.
The Government has announced the replacement of the
existing 30% non-final withholding tax applying to
distributions of Australian source net income (other than
dividends, interest and royalties) by Australian managed
investment trusts to foreign residents with a final
withholding tax regime. This will reduce most tax down to a
final withholding tax of 7.5% in 2010/2011.
Austrade is to assume responsibility for investment
promotion from the DIISR. This will entail the use of
Austrade's overseas network of trade and investment
Austrade will also assume responsibility for the delivery
of the Global Opportunities Program from DIISR.
Austrade's priorities will include the
to continue the focus on maximising export and
international business outcomes by provision of services in
key markets including China and India;
to enhance trade and investment outcomes through sector
and industry initiatives with "industry allies and
to expand and revitalise the EMDG Scheme;
to strengthen assistance to the services sector
including financial services; and
to respond to the Review of Export Policies and
Programs scheduled to be completed in August 2008.
Clearly, this may deliver additional changes to operations
of Austrade and relevant programs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
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The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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