Tariff Exclusion Appeal is Successful

March 2013

Fairclough Corporation, trading as C.A.T.E.R in Perth, Western Australia has successfully appealed the claim by Railcorp NSW to be exempt from tariffs for vehicle mounted rail inspection systems.

The basis of the Tariff Exclusion claim was that there was no equivalent or capable supplier in Australia able to deliver multi-instrumented rail inspection vehicles. The multimillion dollar contract had been let to the Italian firm, MERMEC.

The appeal was successfully upheld after Australian Tax Office investigation showed that there were, in fact, two Australian suppliers of such equipment. One, Plasser Australia, was a co-appellant.

C.A.T.E.R are completely Australian owned and all the instruments are self-developed in Australia into one comprehensive inspection and analysis package. Their experience shows with established markets in the UK, North America, Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Australia.

The Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Mr. Anthony Albanese, had spent time in Italy on two occasions viewing the MERMEC inspection systems in recent years. This may be considered to have influenced Railcorp in its disappointing decision not to appoint an Australian supplier.

Approaches by C.A.T.E.R to the Minister to redress the arguably favourable press towards the Italians were largely rejected, with the simple response being a redirection of the correspondence to other rail related government departments. Recognition was sought to what is considered by C.A.T.E.R to be an abrogation of the role of an Australian elected government official.

The ATO now has a clear precedent to reject claims of exclusion for rail inspection systems sourced from outside Australia.

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