Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon Stuart Robert MP - New legislation to further target illicit tobacco

Legislation passed through Parliament last week will further strengthen the Government’s response to illicit tobacco. This will remove a key source of illicit tobacco and reduce the incentive for organised crime to target licensed warehouses.

The Customs Amendment (Collecting Tobacco Duties at the Border) Bill will require duties on tobacco to be paid as soon as it is imported into Australia, from 1 July 2019 onwards. This replaces the existing system of collecting duties when tobacco leaves a licensed warehouse and enters the domestic market.

Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said tackling illicit tobacco is a priority for the Morrison Government.

“We are committed to disrupting the illicit tobacco market and dismantling the criminal syndicates that support it,” Assistant Minister Reynolds said.

“The Government is putting organised crime groups on notice that their racketeering won’t be tolerated. We know criminal groups use illicit tobacco profits to fund their other criminal activities. This legislation, together with the newly established Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, led by the Australian Border Force, will support legitimate businesses and combat the illicit tobacco black market.”

Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, said the legislation was part of a significant Government reform package to dismantle the black market for tobacco.

“This legislation removes a key source of illicit tobacco used by criminal networks. It will deny criminals the opportunity to source tobacco before duty has been paid on it,” Assistant Treasurer Robert said.

“The new measures will protect law-abiding businesses and make it tougher for criminals to defraud the Australian community of revenue that should be invested into critical services hardworking Australians rely on,” Minister Robert said.

These changes are supported by complementary legislation to require duties on tobacco to be paid on domestic manufacture.

The legislation can be found on the Australian Parliament House website at www.aph.gov.au.