Changes to Enhanced Project By-law Scheme

28 Sep 2009

The Federal Government recently announced a major boost to strengthen participation of Australian industry in projects through changes to the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme (EPBS).

The EPBS allows concessional entry of eligible goods for projects in Mining, Resource, Processing, Agriculture, Food Processing and Packaging, Manufacturing and Gas, Power and Water supply industries.  Goods that are eligible for concessional entry for a project must have a value higher than $10 million and must be goods that have technological or efficiency or productivity advancements above similar goods that are made in Australia, or are goods that are not produced in Australia in the ordinary course of business.

Proposed changes to the EPBS guidelines include:

  • Amendments to the list of eligible goods
  • Clarification of goods used for construction purposes rather than goods incorporated into the finalised operational project
  • Clarification of the intended scope of functional units
  • A requirement for an Australian Industry Participation Plan
  • Changes to the requirements for demonstrating that equivalent Australian goods are produced in the ordinary course of business
  • Earlier agreement with AusIndustry regarding identification of eligible goods under the EPBS

The EPBS operates on a prospective basis which means that applications for acceptance of a proposed project and implementation reports must be submitted by specific dates.  Documents submitted for approval under the EPBS must be assessment ready.  If any essential element has been omitted or not provided to the satisfaction of AusIndustry, the application or report will not be accepted as assessment ready.

To obtain tariff concessions for eligible major projects under an approved Australian Industry Participation Plan, applicants must demonstrate how they will provide full, fair and reasonable opportunity to Australian business to supply goods and services to the project.  Before access to duty free entry can be granted, an EPBS application will be assessed under policy and administrative criteria established by the Government as set out in the relevant guidelines.

The proposed changes to the EPBS not only provide opportunities for duty free entry of eligible goods for investors and project managers of significant infrastructure projects in Australia, but also provide increased access for Australian goods in those projects.

Our Customs and Trade lawyers can assist in identifying opportunities for both importers and local Australian manufacturers to take advantage of the EPBS.

Author: David Boyall