Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Select Legislative Instrument 2006 No. 180


Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs

Customs Act 1901

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2006 (No. 2)


Subsection 270(1) 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 the Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia and that the power may be exercised by prohibiting the importation of goods absolutely or by prohibiting the importation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.

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

In particular, subregulation 4C(3) prohibits the importation of chrysotile (a type of asbestos) and goods mentioned in Part 1 of Schedule 3B to the Principal Regulations that contain chrysotile, subject to certain exceptions.

However, subregulation 4C(4) of the Principal Regulations makes it clear that subregulation 4C(3) does not prohibit the importation into Australia of goods containing chrysotile, if those goods are incorporated into other goods in a way that does not constitute a risk to users until the chrysotile in the goods is disturbed.  This type of chrysotile is known as 'in-situ chrysotile'.  The Principal Regulations do not control the importation of goods containing chrysotile if they are not listed in Part 1 of Schedule 3B, or if they contain in-situ chrysotile.

Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation currently bans the use, in the workplace or at home, of all goods containing in-situ asbestos.  However, the Principal Regulations previously only controlled the import of certain goods containing chrysotile.  The amending Regulations amend the Principal Regulations to control the importation of all goods containing chrysotile asbestos in the interests of policy consistency. 

The amending Regulations repeal Part 1 of Schedule 3B and subregulation 4C(4) of the Principal Regulations so that all goods containing chrysotile are subject to import control.  The amending Regulations also make consequential amendments to Schedule 3B by removing redundant headings, as well as removing references to Part 1 of Schedule 3B.

While no consultation was undertaken specifically in relation to the amending Regulations as they are of a minor or machinery nature and do not substantially alter existing arrangements, there was consultation with industry leading up to the introduction of the 2003 Commonwealth and State asbestos prohibition.

The amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.



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