Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 3)

Customs Act 1901

Section 270 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in part that the Governor-General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters which by the Act are required or permitted to be prescribed for giving effect to the Act.

Section 50 of the Act provides in part that:

(1) The Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia.

(2) The power conferred by the last preceding subsection may be exercised - (c) by prohibiting the importation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.

The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) control the importation of the goods specified in the various regulations or the Schedules to the Regulations, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or making importation subject to the permission of a Minister or an authorised person.

The purpose of the Regulations is to permit the conditional importation of non-refillable containers containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) designed for use in the maintenance of refrigerative units, including air conditioning units.

HFCs -are potent greenhouse gases and the minimisation of emissions from their use as alternative refrigerants is environmentally desirable. Non refillable containers are specifically manufactured single use containers that are charged with refrigerant and sold and used for servicing or commissioning equipment. After use the containers are sent for disposal at which time they are deliberately punctured, in accordance with pressure vessel regulations, allowing the residual amount of refrigerant to be emitted to the atmosphere. Disposable, non-refillable containers are also environmentally undesirable on the grounds that their single use operation is a wasteful form of packaging and contribute to the volume of waste going to landfill. The fluorocarbon industry is supportive of appropriate controls on the use of non-refillable, disposable containers.

The Regulations amend Schedule 3 of the Regulations, goods the importation of which is prohibited unless specified conditions, restrictions or requirements are complied with, by providing that the importation of the non refillable containers is prohibited unless the written consent of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, or an officer of the Department of the Environment and Heritage who is authorised for this purpose, is produced to the Collector (item 1 Schedule 1).

The Regulations commence on 1 July 2000.

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