On 11 October 2016, the Senate established the Select Committee on Red
Tape (committee) to inquire into and report on the effect of restrictions and
prohibitions on business (red tape) on the economy and community, by 1 December
2017, with particular reference to:
effects on compliance costs (in hours and money), economic output, employment
and government revenue, with particular attention to industries, such as
mining, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, and small business;
specific areas of red tape that are particularly burdensome, complex, redundant
or duplicated across jurisdictions;
impact on health, safety and economic opportunity, particularly for the
low-skilled and disadvantaged;
effectiveness of the Abbott, Turnbull and previous governments' efforts to
reduce red tape;
adequacy of current institutional structures (such as Regulation Impact
Statements, the Office of Best Practice Regulation and red tape repeal days)
for achieving genuine and permanent reductions to red tape;
institutional arrangements to reduce red tape, including providing subsidies or
tax concessions to businesses to achieve outcomes currently achieved through
different jurisdictions in Australia and internationally have attempted to
reduce red tape; and
The committee decided to conduct its inquiry by focusing on specific
areas. This report presents the committee's findings and conclusions about the effect
of red tape on tobacco retail (tobacco inquiry).
Conduct of the tobacco inquiry and acknowledgement
The committee advertised the tobacco inquiry on its website and wrote to
a number of organisations, inviting submissions by 28 April 2017. The committee
continued to accept submissions after this date. In total, the committee
received 19 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1, and 11 form letters.
The committee held a public hearing in Sydney on 16 May 2017. The witnesses
who appeared before the committee are listed at Appendix 2.
The committee thanks the individuals and organisations who made submissions
and who gave evidence to assist the committee with its tobacco inquiry.
Scope of the report
Chapter one provides broad background information to set the regulatory
context for the tobacco inquiry. Chapter two then examines some of the evidence
presented to the committee, which may be drawn upon in the committee's final
Australia's regulatory framework for tobacco retail
In Australia, tobacco retail is regulated by a number of health and
social policy frameworks, as well as tobacco control policies at the national
and international levels. For example:
the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control (Convention)—the Convention provides a framework for tobacco
control measures at the national, regional and international levels to reduce
the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke;
the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015 (NDS)—the NDS aims
to build safe and healthy communities by minimising alcohol, tobacco and other
the National Tobacco Strategy 2012–2018 (NTS)—the NTS
sets out a national framework to reduce tobacco-related harm, including
objectives and targets for tobacco control.
Under the NTS, the Commonwealth, states and territories have identified responsibilities
in nine priority areas. Within these areas, the Australian Government is primarily
responsible for continuing to reduce the affordability of tobacco products
(Priority Area 3). Australian, state and territory governments are jointly
responsible for eliminating advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco
products (Priority Area 6), and for considering further regulation of the
contents, product disclosure and supply of tobacco products and alternative
nicotine delivery systems (Priority Area 7).
Australian Government regulation
The Australian Government's regulatory responsibilities include plain
packaging/labelling and advertising/promotion/sponsorship (Action 6.6), and taxation
Plain packaging and labelling
Australia has implemented measures relating to the packaging and
labelling of tobacco products. These measures aim to prevent the promotion of
tobacco products through false, misleading or deceptive packaging and
labelling, and to display health warnings that describe the harmful effects of
Since 1 December 2012, all tobacco products sold, offered for sale or
otherwise supplied in Australia must be in plain packaging and labelled with
updated and expanded health warnings (Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011
(Cth) (Plain Packaging Act); Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations 2011 (Cth)).
The Department of Health (Department) is responsible for administering
the Plain Packaging Act, with the National Measurement Institute, a division
within the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, undertaking plain
packaging compliance and enforcement activities on the Department's behalf:
If non-compliance is identified...enforcement activities are
proportionate to the seriousness of the non-compliance and can range from
education and written warnings, through to infringement notices and/or civil or
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission administers the Competition
and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011. This Standard specifies
the updated and expanded health warnings that are required on all tobacco
Advertising, promotion and
Australia has recognised that 'a comprehensive ban on advertising,
promotion and sponsorship would reduce the consumption of tobacco products'.
Since the 1970s, restrictions have been progressively introduced. In 1973, the
broadcast of tobacco advertisements was banned (effective from 1976),
followed by a ban on tobacco advertising in the print media in 1989 (effective
In 1992, the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (Cth)
(Advertising Prohibition Act) was enacted. This Act provided for the earlier broadcasting
and publication bans, and extended the latter to include billboards,
illuminated signs and other outdoor signs. The Advertising Prohibition Act also
introduced a ban on most forms of tobacco sponsorship.
The Department administers this Act.
Australia's tobacco taxation policy is underpinned by Article 6 of the
Convention and recognises that 'price and tax measures are an effective and
important means of reducing tobacco consumption'. Accordingly, the Customs
Tariff Act 1995 (Cth) imposes customs duty on imported tobacco. The rates
of duty are equivalent to the excise duty that would be charged on domestic
products under the Excise Tariff Act 1921 (Cth).
Source: Australian Taxation Office, Excise Rates for
(accessed 13 June 2017).
The rates of duty are indexed biannually based on average weekly
ordinary time earnings. In addition, the rate is currently subject to annual
increases of 12.5 per cent on 1 September from 2017 to 2020 (inclusive).
The Australian Taxation Office administers an excise remissions process
for tobacco products destroyed before delivery into the domestic market. The
Department of Immigration and Border Protection administers an excise refund (drawback)
process for tobacco products that need to be re-exported.
State and territory regulation
Tobacco retail is predominantly regulated by state and territory
governments. Each jurisdiction has a regulatory regime that is consistent with
national and international tobacco control policies.
Accordingly, the states and territories have many responsibilities aimed at
achieving outcomes identified in the NTS.
running effective mass media campaigns at levels of reach and
frequency demonstrated to reduce smoking and based on current best practice
principles (Action 6.2.1);
expanding effective programs and frameworks to reduce smoking
among populations with a high prevalence of smoking (Action 6.5.2);
exploring regulatory options to eliminate any remaining forms of
tobacco promotion, such as advertising of price specials (Action 6.6.5); and
enforcing existing smoke-free legislation and working toward all
workplaces (indoor and outdoor) being smoke free (Action 6.8.5).
In particular, all governments have fulfilled their responsibility to
consider and develop regulatory options to prohibit the display of tobacco
products at point of sale (Action 6.6.6 of the NTS).
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