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These items to get cheaper for Aussies after government moves on 'nuisance' tariffs

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it's the 'biggest unilateral tariff reform in at least two decades'.

Aussies can expect to pay less for hundreds of items after the government revealed it would be removing “nuisance” import tariffs as households and businesses struggle with the cost of living.

The measure will kick in from July 1 and will affect products like toothbrushes, hand tools, fridges, dishwashers, clothing, and menstrual and sanitary products that are imported from overseas. In total, the reforms will abolish 14 per cent of Australia’s tariffs.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers hopes the move will reduce compliance costs and red tape, which he said would make it easier for businesses to operate and be “better for consumers and the economy”.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers next to tampons, chopsticks, pens, a toothbrush and a toaster that will be affected by tariff reform
Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the government's tariff reform is better for consumers and the economy. (Source: Getty)

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“This is meaningful economic reform that will deliver meaningful benefits to businesses of all sizes around Australia,” he said.

“These tariffs impose a regulatory burden on Australian businesses and raise the costs of imported goods but they do little to protect our workers and businesses because they apply to goods that are mostly already eligible for duty‑free importation.

“Tariff reform will also provide a small amount of extra help with the cost-of-living challenge by making everyday items such as toothbrushes, tools, fridges, dishwashers and clothing just a little bit cheaper.”

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The general tariff rate is at 5 per cent and raised more than $1 billion in the 2022-23 financial year. The “nuisance” tariffs have been highlighted because they don’t raise much revenue and provide little benefit for producers.

The government said this would be the “biggest unilateral tariff reform in at least two decades” and would streamline approximately $8.5 billion worth of annual trade and save businesses more than $30 million in compliance costs each year.

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A consultation period is now underway and Australians will be free to voice their concerns until April 1.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar said he hoped the changes would simplify the trade system and drive productivity for businesses.

But not everyone is convinced by the plan. While Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor welcomed the move, he said it wouldn’t “touch the sides” for Australians struggling at the moment with the cost-of-living crisis.

"Labor says this policy will reduce compliance costs for businesses and ease the cost of living for Australian families by around $120 million over the next four years,” he said. “To put this in perspective, this would be the equivalent of just $1.10 per person per annum.”

Items that could be cheaper under the plan

  • Washing machines

  • Fridge‑freezers

  • Tyres for agricultural vehicles, tractors or other machines

  • Protective footwear

  • Toothbrushes

  • Menstrual and sanitary products

  • X‑ray film

  • Chamois leather

  • Pyjamas

  • Fishing reels

  • Ballpoint pens

  • Toasters

  • Electric blankets

  • Bamboo chopsticks

The full list of items that will be affected by the policy will be revealed in May.