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CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORTS) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2006 (NO. 4) (SLI NO 265 OF 2006)
Select Legislative Instrument 2006 No. 265
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2006 (No. 4)
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 purpose of the amending Regulations is to remove certain restrictions on the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone, and to introduce new restrictions on the import of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire.
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Principal Regulations) control the importation of the goods specified in the various regulations and Schedules, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or by making importation subject to a permission or licence.
The Principal Regulations, in part, give domestic effect to Australia’s international obligations pursuant to United Nations Security Council (Security Council) Resolutions prohibiting the importation of rough diamonds from certain African countries (“conflict diamonds”).
Regulation 4N of the Principal Regulations prohibits the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone unless the permission of the Foreign Minister or an authorised person has been granted. This regulation was introduced to give effect to the ban imposed pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1306 (2000). However, the President of the Security Council announced on 5 June 2003 that this import ban would not be renewed and consequently the import ban imposed by Australia is no longer necessary.
The amending Regulations remove the prohibition on the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone without the required permission, by repealing regulation 4N. However, the importation of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone is still prohibited under regulation 4MA of the Principal Regulations unless the relevant Kimberley Process Certificate is provided.
The Kimberley Process Certificate Scheme is an international certification arrangement for rough diamonds adopted pursuant to the Interlaken Declaration of 5 November 2002. The scheme, of which Sierra Leone is a participant, is intended to reduce the opportunity for conflict diamonds to play a role in fuelling armed conflict by excluding conflict diamonds from legitimate trade.
Under regulation 4MA, the importation of rough diamonds from a country is prohibited unless the exporting country has issued a Kimberley Process certificate for the rough diamonds. On 15 December 2005, the Security Council imposed a binding obligation on all states, including Australia, to prohibit absolutely the importation of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire under Resolution 1643 (2005). The importation of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire is prohibited even if the importer has a Kimberley Process certificate. This resolution is similar in terms to the Security Council Resolution prohibiting the importation of rough diamonds from Liberia.
The amending Regulations introduce into the Principal Regulations a new regulation 4N which imposes an absolute prohibition upon the importation of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire to give effect to this Security Council resolution. The prohibition is in similar terms to regulation 4P of the Principal Regulations which bans absolutely the importation of rough diamonds from Liberia.
No consultation was undertaken specifically in relation to either of the amendments as they implement Australia’s international obligations under the respective Security Council resolutions.
The amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.