Other Measures

Increase in High Court Fees

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
1.8 1.8 1.9 1.9

Explanation

From 1 July 1997, fees for High Court hearings and other matters will be increased to bring the level of cost recovery in that court to around 30 per cent. This level is around the level of cost recovery in superior courts in the States and Territories and is consistent with the cost recovery levels announced for other federal courts in the 1996-97 Budget.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - New Regulatory Arrangements for Telecommunications

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
1.1 2.3 2.1 1.8

Explanation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will be funded to implement and administer new arrangements and structures to facilitate open competition in the telecommunications market from 1 July 1997 pursuant to the Government's regulatory approach embodied in the Trade Practices Amendment (Telecommunications) Act 1997. The costs incurred by the ACCC each financial year will be recovered from the telecommunications industry in the following financial year via annual carrier licence fees. These carrier licence fees are described in the next revenue measure. See also the outlays measure of this title in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Treasury portfolio.

The Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Act 1997 will impose charges in relation to carrier licences under the Telecommunications Act 1997. Annual carrier licence fees will be levied by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and will comprise the costs of resourcing the telecommunications functions and powers of the ACCC and the ACA for the immediately preceding financial year.

The anticipated long-term benefits of the new regulatory regime include:

Cost Recovery by AUSTEL to Implement Telecommunications Reform Initiatives and for Set Up Costs and New Functions of the Australian Communications Authority

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
- 4.2 0.9 0.6

Explanation

Telecommunication carrier licence fees are adjusted each year to recover the costs incurred by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) in performing its regulatory functions for the previous year.

These measures will result in carrier licence fees being increased in 1998-99 to recover the costs:

The corresponding outlays measures are titled 'Funding for costs incurred by AUSTEL in 1996-97 to implement telecommunications reform initiatives' and 'Funding for set up costs and new functions of the Australian Communications Authority' described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Communications and the Arts portfolio.

Cost Recovery for the Australian Communications Authority to Enhance Administration of Cabler Licensing

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
0.1 0.1 0.1 0.4

Explanation

The costs incurred by the Australian Communications Authority in administering cabler licensing are recovered through telecommunication cabler licence fees.

Revenue from this measure will be recovered through telecommunications cabler licence fees over the five year period to 2001-02 to offset the costs associated with additional administration of cabler licences, particularly in relation to enhanced inspection and information activities. There will be a lag in the recovery of revenue to offset the outlays provided for this measure due to the timing in renewal of cabler licences.

The corresponding outlays measure is titled 'Funding for the Australian Communications Authority to enhance administration of cabler licensing' in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Communications and the Arts portfolio.

Licence Charges Payable by Telecommunications Carriers to Meet Costs of Monitoring Industry Development

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
0.6 0.6 0.7 0.8

Explanation

The Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Charges) Act 1997 will be amended to allow the cost of monitoring industry development plans to be recovered from the telecommunications carriers through an increase in annual licensing charges.

Under the Government's post-1997 telecommunications regime, set out in the Telecommunications Act 1997, the Department of Industry, Science and Tourism is to monitor the performance of each licensed carrier against their annual industry development plans. Further information on this measure can be found in the outlays measure titled 'Monitoring telecommunications industry development' described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Industry, Science and Tourism portfolio.

Special Dividend from Australia Post

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
80 80 - -

Explanation

To avoid adding appreciably to Australia Post's significant balances of retained profits built up over a number of years, Australia Post will make special dividend payments in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Over these two years, some of Australia Post's forecast capital expenditure may need to be funded through increased borrowing rather than from retained earnings. The strength of Australia Post's current financial position will allow it to absorb this increased borrowing and still maintain a strong balance sheet. The dividends will also strengthen incentives for Australia Post to continue to improve its efficiency and optimise internal allocation of capital.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - Gas Regulation Role

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
- 1.8 1.5 1.5

Explanation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will perform the function of gas regulator for transmission pipelines under the gas access code that is being developed as part of the Council of Australian Governments' agreed reforms to facilitate free and fair interstate trade in gas. It is proposed that the regulatory costs incurred by the ACCC each financial year will be recovered from the gas industry in the following financial year. The precise mechanism for cost recovery has yet to be finalised.

The ACCC will establish a new Branch to perform this function, the costs of which will be identifiable for the purpose of cost recovery from the industry.

The anticipated long-term benefits of the new regulatory framework include:

See also the outlays measure of this title described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Treasury portfolio.

Cost Recovery of Funding for Airport Environment Officers and Airport Building Controllers at Federal Airports Subject to Sale

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4

Explanation

This measure will allow the Department of Transport and Regional Development to fully recover the costs of contractors performing the statutory functions of an Airport Environment Office at airports subject to long-term lease as part of Phase 1 of the sale of Federal airports. There is also a corresponding outlays measure titled 'Funding of Airport Environment Officers and Airport Building Controllers at Federal airports subject to sale' described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Transport and Regional Development portfolio.

User charges will apply as follows:

The arrangements will apply to the Phase 1 airports (Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) when they are sold.

Amendments will be sought to the Airports Act 1996 to allow Airport Environment Officers to directly charge for certain services.

Reform of the Provision of Legal Services provided by the Attorney-General's Legal Practice to Enhance Contestability and Competitiveness

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
- 6.0 8.7 8.8

Explanation

Returns to the Commonwealth are expected from the restructure of the commercial elements of the business unit into a more commercially focussed organisation (to be known as the Australian Government Solicitor). This will include receipts of taxation and dividend payments to Consolidated Revenue Fund. See also the corresponding outlays measure titled 'Reform of the provision of legal services provided by the Legal Practice to enhance contestability and competitiveness' described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Attorney-General's portfolio.

Phased Increase in Industry Contribution for the Regulation of Therapeutic Goods

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
3.1 9.9 9.7 9.8

Explanation

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has been progressively increasing the level of cost recovery from industry since 1992-93. At the same time, it has been improving its efficiency and reducing turnaround times for approvals. Currently, TGA operational costs are 58 per cent recovered and scheduled to increase to 75 per cent in 1998-99.

This measure will accelerate the rate of increase in the level of cost recovery from industry contributions and eventually increase these to fully recover all costs from industry. The changes will be phased in progressively, with 75 per cent cost recovery in 1997-98 moving to 100 per cent from 1998-99.

This change will be accompanied by a set of reforms within TGA, which are aimed at achieving increased flexibility, greater efficiencies, enhanced international competitiveness of Australian industry and further improving the high standard of medicinal products manufactured in Australia. The reforms are also aimed at freeing business from inappropriate regulatory requirements. Some of the changes include increased use of medicinal evaluation reports and decisions from comparable overseas regulatory agencies, a review of export arrangements to remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles for Australian manufacturers and exporters, and maximising opportunities for mutual recognition or harmonisation of Australia's regulatory requirements with those of countries with comparable standards.

Consumers are also expected to benefit by having more timely access to new products and to the information necessary to ensure appropriate use.

In its undertaking of further efficiency gains, TGA proposes to adopt the European Union Classification System with self-regulation of low risk medical devices which will reduce approval times, and pursue a Mutual Recognition Agreement with the European Union.

Increase in Passport Fees

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
5.1 5.5 9.1 12.5

Explanation

From 1 July 1997, passport fees will increase for individuals applying for, or renewing, passports. The standard adult passport fee will increase from $120 to $126 per passport.

Extension of the Migration Agents Registration Scheme

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
0.6 - - -

Explanation

The Migration Agents Registration Scheme was due to cease in September 1997 but is to be extended to March 1998 to assist in the migration agent industry becoming self-regulating. As the Scheme is currently funded from fees levied on the registration of migration agents, this has meant the continuation of the fees for that period. Further details of the move to self-regulation are set out in the outlays measure of this title described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs portfolio.

Increased Cost Recovery for Citizenship Processing

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
1.3 2.8 2.8 2.9

Explanation

The fee on applications for citizenship will be increased from $80 to $120 from 1 January 1998 to fully recover the costs associated with the processing and granting of citizenship. This reflects the Government's commitment to increase cost recovery in the migration process.

Rationalisation of Temporary Business Entry Visa Sub-Classes

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
3.4 3.9 4.4 4.9

Explanation

The Government will introduce a simplified temporary business entry visa sub-class from 1 July 1997. The new visa will be valid for three months, provide for a single entry and allow for up to a three month stay. Previously, the duration of stay was at the discretion of the issuing officer. This change will simplify the administration of visas and make an improved visa available for business clients. A charge of $45 will be introduced to partly recover the processing costs, reflecting the Government's commitment to increase cost recovery in the migration process.

Cost Recovery for Health Assessments, Health Undertakings and Medical Reviews

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
3.0 3.0 3.1 3.2

Explanation

This initiative aims to more fully recover costs associated with applications for permanent migration (except refugees and special humanitarian cases) by:

The related outlays measure titled 'Health assessments, health undertakings and medical reviews' is described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs portfolio.

Increased Cost Recovery for Business Skills Migration

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
0.6 1.2 1.3 1.3

Explanation

The fee for applicants for business migration will be increased from $2,540 to $3,040 from 1 January 1998. This reflects the improvements in service to business clients in this Budget and the Government's commitment to greater cost recovery in the migration process.

The fee will increase from $2,465 to $2,540 from 1 July 1997 to recover the costs of health assessments and the health undertaking service (described in the above revenue measure) and as a result of the normal indexation of the fee to capture price increases.

Merging of the Migration Internal Review Office and the Immigration Review Tribunal

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
2.3 1.9 1.9 1.9

Explanation

The fees for appeals to the Migration Internal Review Office (MIRO) and the Immigration Review Tribunal (IRT) will be increased to $500 from $200 and $300 respectively from 1 July 1997. This will recover a greater share of the cost of appeals from applicants. Fees on applications will be non-refundable.

These bodies will be merged into a new Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) from 1 July 1998 to simplify administration and reduce duplication. The fee for review by the MRT will be $500. The increase in fees for appeals to the MIRO and the IRT will partly cover the transitional costs of this merger.

A new fee of $1,000 will also be introduced for an appeal to the Refugee Review Tribunal. It will be payable after the decision on a review application has been made but will not be imposed in cases where the applicant is deemed to be a refugee.

The related outlays measure of this title is described in Part I of this Budget Paper under the Immigration and Multicultural Affairs portfolio.

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services - Implementation of Reports into Quarantine and Imported Fish and Fish Products (Industry Charges)

Financial Implications ($m)
1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01
4.7 7.0 7.0 6.6

Explanation

This measure is for increased cost recovery for operational aspects of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service activities associated with the Government's response to Professor Nairn's report, Australian Quarantine - A shared responsibility (the Nairn Report), and the report of the National Task Force on Imported Fish and Fish Products (the Fish Report).

While the Government will meet a significant proportion of the increased quarantine effort, industry will be required to contribute to the implementation costs of the Nairn and Fish Reports through fees and charges to help reduce the direct call on Australian taxpayers and reinforce the Nairn Report's concept of 'a shared responsibility'.