Bills Digest No. 39   1997-98 Fuel (Penalty Surcharges) Administration Bill 1997

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History

Fuel (Penalty Surcharges) Administration Bill 1997

Date Introduced: 25 June 1997
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Industry, Science and Tourism
Commencement: On commencement of the Excise Tariff (Fuel Rates Amendments) Act 1997


To establish administrative arrangements to collect penalty surcharges imposed on persons who misuse, blend or sell petroleum products other than in accordance with their originally intended end-use.


The reader is referred to the Bills Digest prepared for the Excise Tariff (Fuel Rates Amendments Bill 1997.

Main Provisions

This Bill sets out the administrative provisions for the three penalty surcharge bills in the package of legislation. The rate of each of the penalty surcharges is twice the maximum excise payable on automotive diesel fuel.Clause 8 provides that the surcharges are payable in advance, that is, before the use, sale or blending actually takes place.Clause 9 provides large deterrent penalties for those people who fail to pay the surcharges in advance in accordance with Clause 8.Explaining these unusual provisions, the then Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs, Hon Geoff Prosser MP, said in his second reading speech that:

it is highly unlikely that those who are carrying out these practices designed to defraud the revenue will volunteer to pay such surcharges and accordingly an offence will be committed.(1)

Clauses 11-19 set out the record keeping obligations of all people who acquire, store or dispose of petroleum products.The categories of people required to keep records are extensive.However Clause 14 allows regulations to be made providing exemptions from record keeping for people who use, store or blend fuel in volumes below a threshold amount.The threshold is to be determined by regulation.The practical intention of this clause appears to be to exclude the 'average motorist' from the obligation to keep the required records.

Clause 16 requires a person who sells fuel to another to provide the purchaser with a written statement indicating whether the fuel is marked or unmarked.Clause 17 enables regulations to be made setting a threshold amount below which it will not be necessary to provide this written notification.

Clauses 21-46 provide powers to the Australian Customs Service to ensure compliance with the requirements for record keeping and payment of the penalty surcharges, and to obtain evidential material concerning any breaches of this Act.Clause 47 enables information or evidential material to be made available to other Commonwealth and State agencies with relevant interests.'This power recognises that fuel substitution practices are designed to avoid State and Territory petroleum franchise fee revenue, as well as excise'.(2)

Clause 48 provides penalties for removing or neutralising markers in fuel.


  1. Second reading speech, Fuel (Penalty Surcharges) Administration Bill 1997, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 June 1997: 6297.
  2. ibid.: 6298

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Rosemary Bell
4 September 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 9 September 1997

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