Federal Budget 2024-25 — Trade, biosecurity, infrastructure, logistics and manufacturing measures announced

15 May 2024

On 14 May 2024, Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the Federal Budget for 2024-25 (Budget) announcing significant measures in relation to trade, biosecurity, infrastructure, logistics and manufacturing.

Below is a summary of the significant measures announced.


Removal of ‘nuisance tariffs’

The Budget confirmed the earlier announcement by Government that it will permanently abolish 457 nuisance tariffs from 1 July 2024. The removal of such tariffs has been described as the largest unilateral tariff reform in two decades.

This measure will permanently set to ‘free’ the rate of duty in Schedule 3 and Schedules 4A to 15 inclusive of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 on 457 tariffs, streamlining the importation of $8.5 billion worth of goods annually.

This measure will eliminate tariffs on a wide range of imported goods including toothbrushes, hand tools, fridges, dishwashers, clothing, and menstrual and sanitary products. Comments on the measure have been sought from industry but it is worth considering that even if the tariffs are removed, there could still be penalties if there are errors in completing import declarations for such goods.

Ongoing support for the Simplified Trade System

The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to cross-border trade reform, providing $29.9 million to the Simplified Trade System (STS) Taskforce over four 4 years as part of the Budget.

The funding includes an investment of $20.5 million over four years to implement two targeted digital projects as part of a Digital Trade Accelerator Program and $9.4 million over two years to continue whole-of-government coordination of cross-border trade reforms.

The STS Taskforce will transition to a STS Unit from 1 July 2024.

The STS Unit, which will become part of Austrade, will continue to provide integrated advice to government, coordinate the program of funded regulatory reforms as well as relevant cross-border trade projects (such as the Digital Trade Accelerator Program).

Extending duty free access for goods imported from Ukraine

The Government has extended the duty exemption for the import of Ukrainian goods in response to the conflict in Ukraine for two years, until 3 July 2026.

This measure applies a ‘free’ rate of duty to all goods that are the produce or manufacture of Ukraine except for excise-equivalent goods, such as certain alcohol, fuel, tobacco, and petroleum products, which will remain subject to excise-equivalent customs duty.

Phase out of live sheep exports by sea

The Government will provide $107 million over five years from 2024–25 for a series of measures for sheep producers and others involved in the supply chain, market development, sheep welfare, implementation, and engagement to support an orderly phase out of live sheep exports by sea.

This funding includes:

  • $64.6 million to assist sheep producers and the supply chain.
  • $27 million to enhance demand within Australia and internationally for sheep products and to maintain and develop market opportunities with a range of delivery partners, including Austrade.
  • $11 million for the implementation of the phase out, including a stocktake of transition progress in 2026–27 and continued engagement with industry, communities, trading partners and other stakeholders.
  • $1.7 million to appoint a Transition Advocate to facilitate two-way communication between industry and government, information to industry about the transition plan and associated support, and advice to government on how the transition is progressing.

Support for changes to Australia’s Defence Export Controls regime

The Government will provide $28 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $1.2 million per year ongoing) to support the implementation of the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024.

The funding will support upgrades to Defence’s export permit ICT system and education and engagement activities for Australian industry and academia to support compliance with new requirements.

Prohibition on the importation of engineered stone

The Government will provide $32.1 million over two years from 2024–25 to the Australian Border Force (ABF) to enforce a legislated import prohibition on engineered stone products entering Australia.

This prohibition is intended to support the state and territory ban on the use, supply and manufacture of engineered stone which will take effect in most jurisdictions from 1 July 2024. Details will follow on how the ban will be implemented and whether there will be ‘carve outs’ for any types of such stone including stone which does not require any further working before use.

Additional support for international trade

The Budget also provides for the following measures to support Australia’s international trade with our trading partners:

  • $14.4 million over four years from 2024–25 to expand the Australia-India Business Exchange to promote Australia’s trade and investment with India and across South Asia.
  • $10.9 million over two years from 2024–25 to enhance the Go Global Toolkit online platform to support Australian businesses to export goods and services.
  • $4.4 million over two years from 2024–25 to continue funding for the Trade 2040 taskforce and support trade diversification.
  • $2 million in 2024–25 to support affected Australian agricultural exporters to re-establish commercial connections in China and continue to diversify into other markets.
  • $14.3 million over four years from 2024–25 to improve the competitiveness of the Australian economy by working with trade partners to support global rules on unfair trade practices and to negotiate benchmarks for trade in high quality critical minerals.
  • The Budget also provides $26.4 million over the forward estimates to strengthen monitoring and enforcement under Australia’s sanctions framework.

The Budget also provides continues support to implement Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, building on $505.9 million already committed to deepen ties with the region.

The measures include a Southeast Asia Investment Financing Facility to provide up to $2 billion in loans, guarantees, equity and insurance to catalyse Australian trade and investment in the region.

Biosecurity and maritime funding

The Budget provides for an additional $123.8 million over two years from 2023–24 to maintain and enhance Australia’s civil maritime security capabilities. Funding includes:

  • $71.2 million over two years from 2023–24 to increase the ABF’s on-water response and aerial surveillance capabilities.
  • $52.6 million over two years from 2023–24 to address the border and biosecurity threat from illegal fishing activities in Australia’s northern waters, including funding to increase the ABF and Australian Fisheries Management Authority presence in the region, and support prosecutions by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • $2.4 million in 2024–25 to continue development of the Maritime Single Window project.

The Government will also invest $237.4 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $52.1 million per year ongoing) for border agencies to progress design, fit out and commission passenger terminal and shared Commonwealth facilities, provide federal policing and detector dogs at the airport to support critical border security and biosecurity functions.

Manufacturing, logistics and infrastructure

Future Made in Australia

The Government will provide $68 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $3.1 million per year ongoing) to attract investment in key industries to support a Future Made in Australia. Funding includes:

  • An estimated $19.7 billion over ten years from 2024–25 to accelerate investment in Future Made in Australia priority industries, including renewable hydrogen, green metals, low carbon liquid fuels, refining and processing of critical minerals and manufacturing of clean energy technologies including in solar and battery supply chains.
  • $54.7 million over two years from 2024–25 to administer, coordinate and promote the Government’s Future Made in Australia agenda, including the development of legislation that establishes a National Interest Framework and consultation with industry, investors and major stakeholders on the development of a ‘single front door’ that improves the attraction and facilitation of major investment proposals
  • $549.0 million over eight years from 2023–24 to support Australian battery manufacturing.

Pacific region infrastructure funding

The Government will provide $206.5 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $6.9 million per year ongoing) to enhance Australia’s presence in Pacific Island countries and ability to support the Pacific family. Funding includes:

  • $160.4 million over four years from 2024–25 ($237.3 million from 2028–29 to 2033–34) for enhancement and expansion of property at Pacific posts to support a larger presence in the Pacific.
  • $40.6 million over four years from 2024–25 and $1.2 million per year ongoing from 2028–29 to relocate and expand the leased Australian Consulate General Chancery in Honolulu.
  • $5.5 million in 2024–25 to extend the Australian Federal Police deployment to the Solomons International Assistance Force.

Road, railway and airport infrastructure

The Budget includes $4.1 billion in funding over seven years from 2024–25 for 65 new priority infrastructure projects across Australia under the Infrastructure Investment Program.

Highlights of this funding include:

  • $1.9 billion for projects in Western Sydney, including $500 million for the Mamre Road Stage 2 Upgrade and $400.0 million for Elizabeth Drive – Priority Sections Upgrade .
  • $3.3 billion for North-East Link in Victoria.
  • $540.0 million for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to invest in the interstate rail network, including $150.0 million for the Maroona to Portland Line Upgrade
  • $302.6 million over five years from 2024–25 (and $53.5 million per year ongoing) to enable operations at Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.

Support for the development of an Australian Strategic Fleet

The Government will provide funding as part of its election commitment to establish a Strategic Fleet, including:

  • $21.7 million over five years from 2024–25 to support the establishment of a Strategic Fleet, including delivery of the Strategic Fleet Pilot Program.
  • $4.7 million over three years from 2024–25 to undertake a review of the Shipping Registration Act 1981 and Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012.
  • $2.7 million over two years from 2024–25 for a two-year pilot program led by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor compliance with the payment of Seagoing Industry Award 2020 Schedule A wages to seafarers on foreign vessels engaged in coastal trading under a Temporary Licence.

Funding for the new Administrative Review Tribunal

It is also worth mentioning that the Government will provide $1.0 billion over five years from 2023–24 (with $210.8 million per year ongoing from 2028–29 and an additional $194.2 million from 2028–29 to 2035–36) to establish and support the sustainable operation of the new Administrative Review Tribunal, replacing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The funding will also address court backlogs associated with high numbers of applications for judicial review of migration decisions.

Engagement on the budget content

Rigby Cooke Lawyers will provide more details on these developments as more detail is provided, both through updates and through presentations at Continuing Professional Development and other seminars conducted by the International Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia and at industry forums.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss the announced trade, biosecurity, infrastructure, logistics, and manufacturing measures in greater detail, please contact our Customs & Trade team.

Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon, nor is it a substitute for specific professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by Rigby Cooke Lawyers or the authors for loss occasioned to any person doing anything as a result of any material in this publication.

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