Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Select Legislative Instrument 2005 No. 279


Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs

Customs Act 1901


Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2005 (No. 6)

Customs (Prohibited Exports) Amendment Regulations 2005 (No. 4)


Subsection 270(1) of the Customs Act 1901 (the Customs Act) provides in part that the

Governor-General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Customs Act prescribing all matters which by the Customs Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to the Customs Act or for the conduct of any business relating to the Customs.


Sections 50 and 112 of the Customs Act provide, in part, that the Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation or exportation, respectively, of goods into or from Australia and that the powers may be exercised by prohibiting the importation or exportation of goods absolutely or by prohibiting the importation or exportation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.


The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the PI Regulations) and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (the PE Regulations) control the importation and exportation, respectively, of the goods specified in the PI and PE Regulations and the Schedules to those Regulations. 


The purpose of the amending Regulations is to prohibit the importation into, and exportation from, Australia of 5 chemicals.  The 5 chemicals are:

   5-methoxy-N,N-diisopropyltryptamine (otherwise known as 5-MeO-DiPT);

   2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenethylamine (otherwise known as 2C-T-2);

   2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine (otherwise known as 2C-I);

   2,5-Dimethoxy-4-n-propylthiophenethylamine (otherwise known as 2C-T-7); and

   5-Methoxy-alpha-methyltryptamine (otherwise known as 5-MeO-AMT).


These chemicals are from two new categories of synthetic drugs, known broadly as phenethylamines and tryptamines, that are increasingly being used illicitly around the world.  Each of these chemicals is regulated in the United States of America, and some European countries.  Further, no legitimate uses have been identified for these substances.


The 5 chemicals are listed in the table of ‘Border controlled drugs and quantities’ in section 314.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (the Criminal Code) as inserted by the Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Serious Drug Offences and Other Measures) Act 2005 (the Serious Drugs Act).  The Serious Drugs Act amends the Criminal Code to insert new serious drug offences, including criminal offences relating to the importation and exportation of certain drugs.  All of the drugs listed in section 314.4  of the Criminal Code were already listed in the PI Regulations and the PE Regulations with the exception of these 5 chemicals.

The new offences in the Criminal Code take effect on 6 December 2005.  The amendments were therefore required to ensure that the PI and PE Regulations are consistent with the list in section 314.4 of the Criminal Code.  Until the amendments to the PI and PE Regulations were made, Customs officers had no power to seize the 5 new chemicals on detection as prohibited imports or prohibited exports.


The amendments to the PI Regulations prohibit the importation into Australia of the 5 new chemicals, unless the requirements set out in regulation 5 of the PI Regulations are complied with.  Broadly speaking, to comply with regulation 5 of the PI Regulations, a permission and a licence to import the drug granted by the Secretary of the Department administering the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Secretary), or an authorised person, is required.


The amendments to the PE Regulations prohibit the exportation from Australia of the 5 new chemicals, unless the requirements set out in regulation 10 of the PE Regulations are complied with.  Broadly speaking, to comply with regulation 10 of the PE Regulations a permission to export the drugs must be granted to a licensed exporter by the Secretary, or an authorised person.


No consultation was undertaken in relation to the amending Regulations as they are of a minor or machinery nature and do not substantially alter existing arrangements.


The amending Regulations commence on 6 December 2005.




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