Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORTS) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2002 (NO. 1) 2002 NO. 30

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

STATUTORY RULES 2002 No. 30

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs

Customs Act 1901

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 1)

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 or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to this Act or for the conduct of any business relating to Customs.

Section 50 of the Act provides in part that the Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia and that power may be exercised by prohibiting the importation of goods from a specified place, or by prohibiting the importation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions have been complied with.

The purpose of the amending Regulations is to amend the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) to:

       implement sanctions against Liberia in accordance with United National Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1343 (2001) (item 1 refers);

       amend the definitions of 'authorised officer' and 'Minister' in regulation 4R (item 2 refers);

       amend the description of certain weapons whose importation is prohibited in certain circumstances (items 3 to 9 refer);

       prohibit the importation of certain other weapons in certain circumstances (item 10 refers);

       amend the existing import prohibition in respect of anti-personnel sprays and chemicals for use in the manufacture of anti-personnel sprays so that those items can be imported into Australia where it is intended that they will be used by the Commonwealth (item 11 refers);

       prohibit the importation of grenades and canisters, designed for use with anti-personnel sprays or anti-personnel chemicals in certain circumstances (item 11 refers);

       prohibit the importation of zolpidern, darbepoetin alfa and ketamine in certain circumstances (items 12, 13 and 14 refer);

       correct two Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers in Schedule 11 (items 15 and 16 refer); and

       remove the prohibition on importing chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use, if the amount being imported is not greater than 1.5 kilograms (item 17 refers).

UNSC Resolution 1343 (2001) in part provides that all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect importation of all rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not such diamonds originated in Liberia. Proposed item 1 would prohibit absolutely the direct or indirect importation of rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not the diamonds originate from Liberia.

Item 2 replaces the definition of 'authorised officer' in regulation 4R to reflect the transfer of responsibility for administering that regulation to the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. That item also replaces the definition of 'Minister' to reflect the new title of the Minister for Health and Ageing.

In 1998, the Australasian Police Ministers' Council resolved to form a national working party which was to develop a uniform prohibited weapons list, that is a list of weapons whose importation and possession would be controlled. Items 3 to 9 amend the descriptions of a number of weapons whose importation in certain circumstances is already prohibited to ensure those descriptions are consistent with the list. Item 10 also inserts into the Regulations a number of weapons that are included in the list but whose importation is not currently prohibited.

Regulation 4 and item 1 of Schedule 3 to the Regulations prohibit the importation of antipersonnel sprays and chemicals for use in the manufacture of anti-personnel sprays unless certain written consent is produced to a Collector and the goods are imported for the use of the Australian Federal Police, a police force of a State or Territory or a correctional institution of a State or Territory. Under the Act certain customs officers have the power to possess and use oleoresin capsicum spray, a type of anti-personnel spray. Item 11 allows those goods to be imported if they are for the purpose of the government of the Commonwealth, including the Australian Federal Police.

Item 11 also inserts a prohibition on the importation of grenades and canisters that have been designed for use with anti-personnel sprays and anti-personnel chemicals. Whilst currently the importation of anti-personnel sprays and chemicals for the use in the manufacture of antipersonnel sprays is prohibited, there are no restrictions on the importation of grenades and canisters that have been designed for use with those sprays and chemicals. Item 11 covers those grenades and canisters whether they are empty or not. They would be able to be imported in the same circumstances in which anti-personnel sprays and chemicals for use in the manufacture of anti-personnel sprays can be imported.

Item 12 inserts zolpidem into Schedule 4 to the Regulations. The inclusion of zolpidem in Schedule 4 would ensure that Australia meets its international obligations under the 1971 United Nations Convention of Psychotropic Substances.

Item 13 inserts darbepoetin alfa into Schedule 7A to the Regulations. Darbepoetin alfa has the same effect as erythropoietin (EPO) and poses a similar threat to public health.

Item 14 inserts ketamine into Schedule 8 to the Regulations. Ketamine is often used as an adulterant in tablets being sold or marketed as ecstasy.

Items 15 and 16 correct two CAS numbers contained in Schedule 11 to the Regulations.

Item 17 relaxes the controls on the importation of chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use to enable them to be imported without a permission if the amount being imported is 1.5 kilograms or less. This enables individual users of smokeless tobacco to import limited quantities of these goods without having to obtain a new permission for each importation.

Details of the amending Regulations are set out in the Attachment.

The amending Regulations commenced on gazettal.

ATTACHMENT

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 1)

Regulation 1 - Name of regulations

Regulation 1 provides that the amending Regulations are named the "Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 1)".

Regulation 2 - Commencement

Regulation 2 provides that the amending Regulations are to commence on gazettal.

Regulation 3 - Amendment of Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956

Regulation 3 provides that Schedule 1 amends the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations).

Schedule 1 - Amendments

Item 1 - After regulation 4N

Item 1 inserts into the Regulations a new regulation 4P which will prohibit absolutely the direct or indirect importation of rough diamonds from Liberia, whether or not the diamonds originate from Liberia.

This item implements Australia's obligations in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1343 (2001).

Item 2 - Subregulation 4R(1), definition of authorised officer

Item 2 replaces the definition of 'authorised officer' in regulation 4R.

Regulation 4R of the Regulations prohibits the importation of radioactive substances unless the permission to import the substance has been granted by the Minister for Health and Ageing or an authorised officer. Authorised officer presently is defined to mean an officer or employee of the Department of Health and Aged Care appointed in writing by the Minister as an authorised officer for regulation 4R. Responsibility for administering this regulation has been transferred to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Item 2 replaces the current definition so that the Minister will be able to authorise the CEO of ARPANSA and/or APS employees who assist the CEO.

The term 'Minister' presently is defined to mean the Minister for Health and Aged Care. Proposed item 2 replaces the current definition to reflect the new title of the Minister.

Items 3 - 9 - Schedule 2

Items 3 to 9 replace the descriptions of certain goods whose importation is prohibited unless the written permission of the Minister for Justice and Customs or an authorised person to import the goods has been granted.

In 1998 as a result of an Australasian Police Ministers' Council (APMC) resolution, a national working party was formed to develop a uniform prohibited weapons (non firearms) list, that is a list of weapons whose importation and possession would be controlled.

The working party met several times and developed a list that was presented to and supported by the APMC in November 1999.

In order to ensure consistency with that list, Items 3 to 9 replace the descriptions of daggers, hand-held electronic devices, acoustic anti-personnel devices, blowguns and blowpipes, darts capable of being projected from a blow-gun or blow-pipe, pistol crossbows, flick knives, knuckle-dusters, goods incorporating concealed knives, blades and spikes and star knives.

Item 10 - Schedule 2, after item 34

Item 10 inserts into Schedule 2 to the Regulations thirteen new items. The importation of the goods listed in those items will be prohibited unless the written permission of the Minister for Justice and Customs or an authorised person to import the goods has been granted.

These goods are included in the APMC uniform prohibited weapons list and their importation is not currently prohibited. They are generally sheath knives, push knives, trench knives, throwing blades, throwing knives, throwing axes, knives, blades or spikes which are neither metallic nor ceramic, hand and foot claws, weighted gloves, butterfly knives, Shark Darts, dart projectors, maces, flails and extendable and telescopic batons.

Item 11 - Schedule 3, item 1

Item 11 substitutes item 1 of Schedule 3 to the Regulations with two items (items 1 and 1A). New item 1 covers the same goods being anti-personnel sprays and chemicals for use in the manufacture of antipersonnel sprays, however the requirements in column 3 have been amended to allow the importation of those goods for the purposes of the government of the Commonwealth. Currently, those goods can only be imported if they are for the use of the Australian Federal Police, a police force of a State or a correctional institution of a State or Territory. The requirements relating to State and Territory police forces and correctional institutions have not changed.

New item 1A covers grenades and canisters, that have been designed for use with anti-personnel sprays and anti-personnel chemicals. Those goods will be able to be imported if they meet the same requirements that apply to goods in new item 1.

Item 12 - Schedule 4, after item 232

Item 12 inserts into Schedule 4 the drug zolpidem. In March 2001 the United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs decided that zolpidern (a psychotropic substance) should be included in Schedule IV of the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The inclusion of zolpidern in Schedule 4 will ensure that Australia meets its international obligations under this Convention.

Item 13 - Schedule 7A, after item 3

Item 13 inserts into Schedule 7A the substance darbepoetin alfa. This substance has the same effect as erythropoietin (EPO) and poses a similar threat to public health.

Item 14 - Schedule 8, after item 10

Item 14 inserts ketamine into Schedule 8 to the Regulations. Ketamine is often used as an adulterant in tablets being sold or marketed as ecstasy.

Item 15 - Schedule 11, Part 3, item 10(b), column 3

Regulation 5J of the Regulations prohibits the importation of goods containing certain chemical compounds. Schedule 11 to the Regulations lists the chemical compounds contained in the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, by chemical name and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number.

Item 15 corrects a CAS number contained in item 10(b) of Part 3, Schedule 11 to the Regulations.

Item 16 - Schedule 11, Part 3, item 12(b), column 3

Item 16 also corrects the CAS number contained in item 12(b) of Part 3, Schedule 11 to the Regulations.

Item 17 - Schedule 12, item 5

Item 17 replaces item 5 of Schedule 12 to the Regulations. Currently, the importation of chewing tobacco and snuffs intended for oral use is prohibited unless a permission in writing to import the goods has been given by the Minister administering Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974. This amendment will relax this prohibition, so that the importation of chewing tobacco and snuffs will not be prohibited if the amount being imported is 1.5 kilograms or less.


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