Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Select Legislative Instrument 2009 No. 216


Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Home Affairs

Customs Act 1901

Customs Amendment Regulations 2009 (No. 4)


Section 270 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides, in part, that the Governor‑General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters which by the Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed, for giving effect to the Act.

The purpose of the amending Regulations is to update the list of 'excise-equivalent goods' contained in subregulation 1D(1) of the Customs Regulations 1926 (the Principal Regulations).

The amending Regulations are required as a consequence of amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (the Tariff Act) by the Customs Tariff Amendment (2009 Measures No. 1) Act 2009 (the Tariff Amendment Act). The amendments to the Tariff Act are part of the Government's strategy to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages often know as 'alcopops' or 'ready-to-drink beverages' (RTDs).

'Excise-equivalent goods', which is defined in subsection 4(1) of the Customs Act to mean goods prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of the definition, are imported goods that, if they were produced or manufactured in Australia, would be subject to excise duty. Excise-equivalent goods include goods such as alcohol, petroleum products and tobacco. Excise-equivalent goods are subject to a flat rate of customs duty that are equal to the rates of excise duty applying to their locally manufactured equivalents. Some are also subject to a rate of customs duty that is calculated by reference to the value of the goods.

The Principal Regulations prescribe as 'excise-equivalent goods' goods classified to a subheading of Schedule 3 to Tariff Act which is specified in subregulation 1D(1).

The Tariff Amendment Act has amended the definitions of 'beer' and 'grape wine products' contained in the Tariff Act with the result that products made from beer or grape wine and which mimic spirit based RTDs are subject to the higher rate of customs duty which applies to all other RTDs. In doing so, the Tariff Amendment Act has repealed a number of existing subheadings and creates a number of new subheadings in Schedule 3 to the Tariff Act.

The amending Regulations update the list of subheadings contained in subregulation 1D(1) of the Principal Regulations to reflect the changes made to the subheadings contained in Schedule 3 to the Tariff Act. The amending Regulations have the effect that imported products made from beer or grape wine and which mimic spirit based RTDs are excise equivalent goods and therefore taxed in an equivalent fashion to similar goods which are produced locally.

Relevant industry and industry associations were consulted with regarding the amendments to the Tariff Act in relation to the beer and wine changes.

The amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.


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