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CUSTOMS (PROHIBITED IMPORTS) REGULATIONS (AMENDMENT) 1998 NO. 52EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
STATUTORY RULES 1998 No. 52
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations (Amendment)
Section 50 of 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 proceeding subsection may be exercised - (c) by 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 the goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to import the goods or a clam of goods in which the goods are included has been granted as prescribed by the regulations; and..."
During 1996 all Australian governments agreed on a national scheme to control the circulation of firearms in Australia. In particular, it was agreed that strict controls would be placed on access to self-loading rimfire rifles, self-loading shotguns or pump action repeating shotguns ("the relevant weapons"), as well as parts, accessories, magazines or ammunition used in these weapons. ("parts").
The amendments to the Regulations are designed to ensure the access regime to such weapons and parts is uniform throughout the Commonwealth.
Under the current "Police authorisation" test contained in the Regulations, a person may import a relevant weapon, or parts for such a weapon, if at or before importation they can present to Customs a statement from the principal police officer of a State or Territory that they are licensed, or are authorised to possess in the jurisdiction of the police officer making the statement, the weapon they propose to import.
The Regulations also restrict the class of person who can import relevant weapons under, the "Police authorisation" test to primary producers.
Primary producers who can produce to Custom., at or before importation of a relevant weapon the statement from a police officer described previously, as well as a statement from the police officer that they are in fact a primary producer, will retain the right to import these weapons, and their parts.
In addition. sports shooters who can satisfy the Attorney-General that on 15 November 1996 (the day the Australian Police Minister's Council resolved to control the nature of weapon to be used in sports shooting) he or she was a member of a club affiliated with the Australian Clay Target Association ("the ACTA"), and possessed either a self-loading shotgun. or a pump action shotgun for use in clay target events, and is licensed or authorised to possess either a self-loading shotgun or a pump action repeating shotgun in the State or Territory in which the club is located, will continue to have the right to import a self-loading shotgun or a pump action repeating shotgun if the particular weapon is intended to be. used solely to take part in clay target events.
Other sports shooters, who can satisfy the Attorney-General that he or she is a member of a club affiliated with. the ACTA, is licensed or authorised to possess either a self-loading shotgun or a pump action repeating shotgun in the State or Territory in which the club is located and who intends to participate in clay target events, but, because of physical need (that is, a lack of strength or dexterity) requires such a weapon so as to participate, may import such a weapon if it is intended to be used solely to take part in clay target events.
A person who satisfies the sports shooter test will not he permitted to import a self-loading rimfire rifle.
The Regulations are explained in greater detail in the Attachment.
The Regulations commenced operation on 25 March 1998.
Regulation 1 - Commencement
Subregulation 1.1 provides for the amendment to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations to commence on their gazettal.
Regulation 2 - Amendment
Subregulation 2.1 provides for the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations to be amended as set out in these Regulations.
Regulation 3 - Regulation 4F
Subregulation 3.1 makes a technical amendment it) subregulation 4F(3) extending the prohibition on the importation of Category C articles unless they comply with the conditions set out in Items 2, 3 and 4 of Schedule 6.
Regulation 4 - Schedule 6 (Requirements for the importation of firearms, firearm accessories, firearm parts, firearm magazines and ammunition)
Subregulation 4.1 restricts the class of person eligible to import self-loading rimfire rifles, self-loading shotguns or pump action repeating shotguns of the sort referred to in Item 3 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 to the Regulations ("category C firearms") and parts, accessories, magazines and ammunition for category C firearms (collectively referred to as "category C articles"), by amending the "Police authorisation" test contained in Item 4 of Part 1 of the Schedule.
The only class of person who will be able to import category C articles using the "Police authorisation" test will be these who can produce to Customs at or before the importation of a category C article a statement from the principal police officer of a State or Territory that they are licensed, or authorised to possess. the relevant articles in the jurisdiction of the police officer making the statement, and that they are primary producers (new paragraph 4.1 (b and c) refers).
Subregulation 4.2 adds two tests a person may satisfy, so that he or she may import self-loading shotguns or pump action repeating shotguns. One is the "sports shooter text" (new item 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 6 refers). The second is tile "dealer test".
Under the sports shooter test, inserted by the new Item 5, the Attorney-General may give written permission to import a self-loading shotgun or a pump action shotgun to a sports shooter if the Attorney-General is satisfied the importer was a member of a club affiliated with the Australian Clay Target Association on 15 November 1996 who owned a self-loading shotgun or a pump action shotgun for use in clay target events. is licensed, or authorised, to possess either a self-loading shotgun or pump action repeating shotgun in the State or Territory in which the club is located, and the importer intends to use either a self-loading shotgun or pump action repeating shotgun for the sole purpose of participating in clay target events.
Other members of ACTA affiliated clubs, who can satisfy the Attorney-General that because of a physical need, that is, a lack of strength or dexterity. they require a self-loading shotgun or pump action shotgun so as to participate in clay target events, may import such firearms, if the particular firearm is intended to be used solely to take part in clay target events.
Under the "dealer test" inserted by the new Item 6, the Attorney-General may give written permission for a dealer to import a Category C article if the Attorney-General is satisfied that the importer carries on the business of a firearm dealer, and holds a licence or authorisation pursuant to the law of the State or Territory where the importer carries on business to possess and sell such weapons, it should be noted that importations made under the "dealer test" have further conditions placed on their importation. See the explanatory note for Regulation 4.5.
Subregulations 4.3 and 4.4 amend Item 3 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 by inserting the "sports shooters test" as a test that may be satisfied so as to allow the person to import a self-loading shotgun or a pump action shotgun of the sort referred to in the Item (or their parts) and the "dealer test"' as a test by which all Category C article may be imported.
Subregulation 4.5 adds to the end of Part 3 to Schedule 6 further conditions upon goods importer by those eligible to import Category C articles under the "dealer test''. The imported must only import the article to sell to a primary producer or sports shooter eligible to import Category C articles, and must store the imported article with Customs until the dealer can satisfy a Collector of Customs that the dealer has sold the particular article to a person eligible to import such weapons.
The subregulation also inserts definitions for the terms "certified sports shooter", "certified primary producer"', "relevant police officer", "Category C article" and "restricted Category C article" for the purposes of the amendments made to the Regulations by this Statutory Rule-
Subregulation 4.6 adds Part 4 to Schedule 6 inserting a number of definitions for the purposes of Schedule 6.