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CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORTS) AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2011 (NO. 3) (SLI NO 232 OF 2011)
Select Legislative Instrument 2011 No. 232
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Home Affairs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 3)
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.
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 PI Regulations) control the importation of specified goods for the purposes of the Act, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or by making importation subject to a permission or licence.
The amending Regulations introduce an import control on certain goods, commonly known as ice pipes, which are capable of being used for smoking or inhaling methylamphetamine. This is consistent with the fact that ice pipes are illegal in most Australian jurisdictions.
The Australian Government has previously announced that it would consider measures to ban goods, commonly known as ice pipes. The import restrictions mean that goods commonly known as ice pipes covered by the control will no longer be able to be imported into Australia without the permission of the Minister for Home Affairs or an authorised officer.
Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) have been identified by the Australian Crime Commission as one of the three highest organised crime priorities for the Australian Government. The 2010 National Household Drug Survey indicates that 2.1 percent of Australians aged 14 years or older had used ATS in the preceding 12 months. Whilst ATS can be administered in a range of ways, including inhaling, smoking in its crystalline form is particularly dangerous due to high drug purity levels.
Ice pipes do not have any legitimate use and their availability for import and sale undermines efforts to reduce abuse of illicit drugs such as methylamphetamine.
The amending Regulations do not provide for merits review. This is because:
* there are no legitimate purposes/uses for ice pipes or like devices;
* internal review is available within the administering agency; and
* judicial review is available under the Administrative Appeals (Judicial Review) Act 1977.
Relevant stakeholders including glassware and scientific equipment manufacturers and retailers were consulted regarding the implementation of an import control for ice pipes. There is no legitimate use for an ice pipe and consultation focused on ensuring the proposed definition did not inadvertently catch unintended equipment used in legitimate industry.
The amending Regulations are set out in greater detail in the Attachment.
The amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
Details of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 3)
Regulation 1 - Name of Regulations
This regulation provides that the title of the amending Regulations is the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amending Regulations (No. 3)
Regulation 2 - Commencement
This regulation provides that the amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered.
Regulation 3 - Amendment of Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956
This regulation provides that Schedule 1 to the amending Regulations amend the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.
Schedule 1 - Amendments
Item  - After regulation 4G
Item 1 inserts a new regulation 4H after regulation 4G.
New subregulation 4H(1) provides for the following definitions:
authorised officer means an officer of the Department administered by the Minister authorised in writing by the Minister for this regulation.
component of an ice pipe means a device that:
(a) appears on reasonable grounds, to be part of an ice pipe; and
(b) is capable of being used for administering a drug mentioned in Schedule 4, in the way described in the definition of ice pipe, only if adjusted, modified or added to.
ice pipe means a device that is capable of being used for administering methylamphetamine, or any other drug mentioned in Schedule 4, by the drawing or inhaling of smoke or fumes resulting from heating the drug, in the device, in a crystal, powder, oil or base form; and
New subregulation 4H(2) provides that the importation into Australia of an ice pipe or a component of an ice pipe is prohibited unless the Minister or an authorised officer has granted permission in writing to import the ice pipe and that permission has been produced to the Collector of Customs at or before the time of importation.
New subregulation 4H(3) provides that an application for the grant of a permission to import an ice pipe must be:
* in writing; and
* lodged with the Minister or authorised officer
New subregulation 4H(4) provides that the Minister or an authorised officer may request any information that the Minister or authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of making a decision in relation to an application to import an ice pipe.
New subregulation 4H(5) enables the Minister or an authorised officer to specify conditions or requirements, including timeframes for compliance, which must be met by the holder of the permission. Conditions or requirements may include for example, the timeframe within which the ice pipe must be imported or a requirement to advise of any changes to the circumstances which were relevant to the permission being granted. The conditions could relate to a time either before or after the importation of an ice pipe.
New subregulation 4H(6) gives the Minister or an authorised officer the power to revoke, in writing, a permission if the Minister or authorised officer is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the holder has not complied with a condition or a requirement specified under new subregulation 4H(5).