The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) has announced a review into Australia's border related fees, charges, visas and taxes on behalf of the Immigration minister.

Each year, border agencies collect around $3 billion in revenue from border related fees and charges. This is in addition to the billions that are collected by border agencies in excises and other taxes.


Each year, border agencies collect around $3 billion in revenue from border related fees​

'Outside the Australian Taxation Office, the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio is the biggest 'tax collector' in the country. At the same time it costs more than $6 billion a year to protect and administer our borders. It is a core function of government,' Scott Morrison, the immigration minister.

'Our border is a strategic national asset. We must manage it effectively to produce positive economic dividends from legitimate trade and travel, while delivering national security dividends by protecting Australia from those who seek to compromise our borders for criminal, terrorist or other corrupt purposes,' he pointed out.

'A weak border is not only bad for national security; it is also bad for legitimate business. It is important that we have a far better policy and operational framework in place for how we set the fees and charges and the taxes we apply at the border. Border fees and charges need to be set and administered efficiently and effectively,' he added.

He also pointed out that it is the job of the government to ensure that wherever possible the costs of facilitating the movement of goods and people is met, to avoid drawing further on the general taxpaying community.

Morrison said the review will focus on identifying where the government's border charges can be consolidated and improved to better support Australia's future border operations. It will look at various charges including visa application fees.

'The Fees Review will strive to find the right balance between supporting Australia's international competitiveness, relieving the administrative burden on industry and ensuring the costs of maintaining the integrity of our border are appropriately shared with those who use it,' Morrison explained.

But large increases in visa fees are unlikely. Morrison pointed out that under the previous government sponsored skilled visa and working holiday visa charges more than doubled. Partner visas also doubled, and the cost of skilled graduate visas increased by over 500%.

'The Coalition Government did not change any of the fees and charges settings we inherited from the previous Government. Instead we believe that before contemplating any changes in this area there must be a thorough and consultative review,' he continued.

'The Government's review is tasked to produce a budget neutral outcome, in terms of any cost to revenue, however, it does provide the opportunity to align the border fees, charges and taxes regimes with the practices of business resulting in more secure and efficient borders,' he added.

The review will include industry consultation with opportunities for interested parties to make their views known to the Australian Government.

The industry consultation process will commence with a request for written submissions, followed by targeted engagement with various industry groups over the coming months.