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CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORT) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2003 (NO. 2) 2003 NO. 26EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
STATUTORY RULES 2003 No. 26
Issued by the authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Prohibited Import) Amendment Regulations 2003 (No. 2)
Section 270 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in part that the Governor-General may make regulations consistent 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.
(3) Without limiting the generality of paragraph (2)(c), the regulations;
(a) may provide that the importation of the goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to import the goods or a class of goods in which the goods are included has been granted as prescribed by the regulations ..."
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the principal Regulations) control the importation of the goods specified, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or by making importation subject to the permission of a Minister or an authorised person.
On 6 December 2002 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed on a package of reforms to tighten controls on handguns. In particular it was agreed that sporting shooters would be prohibited from importing, purchasing and possessing handguns and handgun parts which do not meet certain calibre, barrel length and shot capacity requirements.
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2002 (No. 4) (the amendment Regulations), which commenced on 20 December 2002, prohibited the importation by certified sports shooters and certified international sports shooters of those handguns and handgun parts which do not meet the requirements agreed to by COAG. The calibre, barrel length and shot capacity specifications are set out in Schedule 6, Part 4, items 1.3 and 1A.3 of the Regulations.
However, the absolute prohibition on the purchase and possession of those handguns and handgun parts by sporting shooters will not occur until the States and Territories enact complementary legislation. COAG agreed that all legislative and administrative arrangements relating to the handgun reforms would be in place by 1 July 2003.
Until 30 June 2003 sports shooters can lawfully possess handguns and handgun parts which do not meet the calibre, barrel length and shot capacity requirements agreed to by COAG. While Australian sports shooters can take their handguns and handgun parts overseas to compete in a sports shooting event, the Regulations currently prevent them from bringing those handguns and handgun parts back into Australia after the event if they do not meet the calibre, barrel length and shot capacity specifications set out in the Schedule 6, Part 4, item 1.3 of the Regulations.
Additionally, the Regulations currently prevent international sports shooters (that is those who are neither Australian citizens nor lawful non-citizens) from bringing their handguns and handgun parts into Australia to compete in sports shooting events, if those handguns and handgun parts do not meet the calibre, barrel length and shot capacity specifications set out in Schedule 6, Part 4, item 1A.3 of the Regulations. In the absence of an amendment to the Regulations international sports shooters will be at a competitive disadvantage when competing in Australia. Unlike international sports shooters, Australian sports shooters will not be limited by the COAG specifications until 1 July 2003.
Thus, in the absence of early amendment of the complementary State and Territory legislation, the amendment Regulations have created an anomaly which adversely effects Australian and international sports shooters competing in sports shooting events that are scheduled to be conducted in Australia and overseas prior to 1 July 2003.
The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that, prior to the implementation of the complementary State and Territory legislation, Australian and international sports shooters competing in national and international events are not disadvantaged.
The amendments would enable Australian sports shooters to import handguns which they take overseas for the purposes of competing in an international sports shooting event. The amendments would also enable international sports shooters who come to Australia to compete in sports shooting events to import certain handguns that they might otherwise not be permitted to bring into Australia and which Australian sports shooter are currently permitted to possess. International sports shooters would be required to export those handguns as soon as practicable after of the completion of the competition.
The Regulations commenced on gazettal.