Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Science and Small Business

Customs Act 1901

Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations (Amendment)

Section 50 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in part that:

"(1)       The Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia.

(2)       The power conferred by the last preceding subsection may be exercised
- ... (c) prohibiting the importation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.

(3)       Without limiting the generality of paragraph (2)(c), the regulations
-...(a) may provide that the importation of goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to import the goods or a class of goods in which the goods are included has been granted as prescribed by the regulations; and..."

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

These Regulations amend the Regulations to add five new substances to the list of precursors to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in Schedule 4 and to strengthen the import controls on anabolic and androgenic substances and growth hormones in Schedule 8 of the Regulations.

Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

In September 1991 the Regulations were amended to introduce controls on the importation of certain narcotic and psychotropic substances, together with certain substances which were known to be used in their illicit manufacture. This enabled Australia to meet its obligations as a signatory to the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971. These controls are given effect to by regulation 5 which provides in part that the importation of a drug is prohibited unless the person importing the drug is the holder of a licence and a permission granted by the Secretary of the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services or an authorised person under the regulation and the permission is produced to the Collector. Subregulation 5(20) defines "drug" as a chemical, compound, or other substance listed in Schedule 4.

On 5 February 1993 the Government decided to amend Schedule 4 of the Regulations to add five new substances to the lists of substances controlled by those provisions.

The five new substances (four of which have been used in the manufacture of amphetamine derivatives and the fifth in the manufacture of methaqualone) were added to Table I of the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances by decision of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in April 1992. Australia signed the instrument of ratification for the Convention on 16 November 1992 and the Convention took effect in Australia on 14 February 1993.

Regulation 8 amends the list of controlled substances in Schedule 4 to include the following five new substances:

N-acetylanthranilic acid (new item 2A);

isosafrole (new item 112A);

3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone (new item 146A);

piperonal (new item 201A); and

safrole (new item 218A).

Corresponding amendments have been made to the equivalent export controls in Schedule 8 of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations.

Anabolic and androgenic substances and growth hormones

Schedule 8 of the Regulations prohibits the importation of certain substances unless the permission of the Secretary to the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services is first obtained under regulation 5H. Item 3A of that Schedule prohibits the importation of "Anabolic and androgenic substances or natural or synthetic growth hormones."

On 8 December the Government decided to amend item 3A to introduce import controls on certain substances, known as "gonadotrophins (including menotrophins)" which have the potential to be abused by athletes and others wishing to increase their muscle bulk or masculine appearance. These substances are considered to fall outside the prohibition in item 3A as they have an indirect anabolic or androgenic effect.

The Government also decided to amend the second part of the prohibition in item 3A (that applying to "natural or synthetic growth hormones") to include other substances which have a similar physiological effect to naturally occurring animal and human growth hormones, but are not known as "growth hormones". There are also a number of growth hormone substances now available which are manufactured by recombinant DNA technology and which cannot be described as either natural or synthetic, despite having the same physiological effect as the naturally produced hormone.

Regulation 9 amends Schedule 8 to omit current item 3A and substitute new items 3A and 3B in the following terms:

3A       Natural and manufactured gonadotrophins (including menotrophins, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Luteinising Hormone and Human Chodonic Gonadotrophin).

3B       Natural and manufactured growth hormones, including somatropin, somatrem, somatomedins and insulin-like growth factors (not insulins) and growth hormone releasing hormone (somatorelin and synthetic analogues).

The opportunity has also been taken to correct a number of spelling mistakes in Schedule 4 (subregulations 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 and 8.8 refer) and to change the various references to the Department in the Regulations to the "Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Service" (subregulations 2.1. 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.3, 7.1 and 7.2 refer) and the references to the Minister to the "Minister for Health" (subregulations 2.2 and 7.3 refer), to reflect the new Administrative Arrangements.

The Regulations commence on gazettal.

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