Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs

Customs Act 1901

Customs Regulations (Amendment)

Section 270 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.

Subsection 162(1) of the Act makes provision for the temporary importation of certain goods. It provides that "Where ... a person imports goods included in a prescribed class or goods intended for a prescribed purpose and intends to export those goods, the Collector may grant to the person importing the goods permission to take delivery of those goods upon giving a security or an undertaking, to the satisfaction of the Collector, for the payment of the duty on those goods". Other conditions are then set out in section 162 relating to such matters as the time within which the goods must be exported.

These amendments to the Customs Regulations ("the Regulations") provide for the inclusion of a new prescribed class of goods and a new prescribed purpose for the purposes of section 162 of the Act. These cover goods which are testing or evaluation equipment and goods which are intended for the purposes of testing or evaluation.

The need for this new prescribed class and prescribed purpose has been identified by a review of the operation of the temporary importation provisions of the Act and Regulations which is being undertaken by the Australian Customs Service.

Previously, the Australian Customs Service had administered the temporary importation provisions broadly, but since August 1996, in the light of legal advice on the scope of the previous provisions, a more restricted view of the operation of the provisions was enforced. This caused concern to a number of different sectors of industry that import goods to be tested or evaluated or to undertake testing or evaluation of other goods. These amendments permit these importers to avail themselves of the temporary importation provisions again.

Details of the Regulations are as follows:

Regulation 1 provides that the Customs Regulations ("the Regulations") are amended as set out in these regulations.

Regulation 2 provides for the omission of the previous paragraph 124(1)(b) of the Regulations and the substitution of a new paragraph 124(1)(b), relating to the prescribed classes of goods for section 162 of the Act, and a new paragraph 124(1)(c), relating to the prescribed purposes for section 162 of the Act.

New paragraph 124(1)(b) has been redrafted to reflect current drafting style. In addition, it now includes a new subparagraph 124(1)(b)(iv) to cover "testing and evaluation equipment". This new circumstance is drafted in broad terms and is intended to allow imported goods to be brought in to test and evaluate other goods. For instance, a particular good may be imported to calibrate another good. Further, the previous subparagraph 124(1)(b)(iv), which prescribed "goods imported for assembly or other industrial purposes approved by the Collector", has been redrafted and moved to new subparagraph 124(1)(c)(i).

New paragraph 124(1)(c) prescribes two purposes for the purposes of section 162. As discussed above, new subparagraph 124(1)(c)(i) is a modem redraft of subparagraph 124(1)(b)(iv); the coverage of this subparagraph remains the same. The new prescribed purpose in subparagraph 124(1)(c)(ii) is drafted in broad terms and is intended to allow a wide variety of goods to be temporarily imported so that they may be tested or evaluated. For instance, it is intended to cover such goods as motor vehicles for such purposes as crash testing or heat endurance testing, and electrical goods for such purposes as certification testing at Australian laboratories,

These Regulations commenced on gazettal.

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