Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 2004 No. 62

Issued by the authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs

Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act 1990

Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Amendment Regulations 2004 (No. 1)

Subsection 22(1) of the Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act 1990 ('the Act') provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

The Act gives effect to Australia's obligations under the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances ('the Convention'). Australia's instrument of ratification of the Convention was deposited with the United Nations on 16 November 1992. The Convention came into force in Australia on 14 February 1993.

Under the Convention Australia's obligations include establishing as criminal offences a comprehensive list of activities related to trafficking in drugs. Certain gaps in State and Territory legislation concerning provisions making it an offence to launder property or money derived from drug offences led to the Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Amendment Act 1992 ('amending Act'), which amended the Act. The amending Act created three Commonwealth offences relating to laundering money or other property derived from serious drug trafficking offences, to have effect in States or Territories that do not have adequate money laundering offence provisions.

The amending Act was intended as an interim measure to enable ratification of the Convention, by overcoming the problem of States and Territories not having enacted provisions criminalising money laundering as required by the Convention. The Commonwealth money laundering offences are not applied to those Australian States and Territories which are prescribed in the Crimes (Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Regulations ('the Principal Regulations').

The purpose of the Regulations is to apply the money laundering offences to the Northern Territory, which was formerly a prescribed Territory pursuant to the Principal Regulations. In June 2003 the Northern Territory repealed its offences relating to laundering the proceeds of drug offences and there are currently no adequate laws in the Northern Territory that correspond to the money laundering offences in the Act.

The effect of the Regulations is to remove the Northern Territory from the list of prescribed jurisdictions in the Principal Regulations so that the Commonwealth money laundering offences apply to the Northern Territory. References to the Northern Territory have been omitted from the Principal Regulations at paragraphs 4(1)(g), 4(2)(g) and 4(3)(g).

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