Discussion summary


The Tobacco Stakeholder Group agendas, minutes and related papers are not binding on the ATO, Customs and Border Protection Service or the other bodies referred to in these papers. While every effort is made to accurately record views expressed, the wording necessarily represents a summary of statements of general position only, and care should be taken in interpreting those statements. These papers reflect the position at the date of release (unless otherwise noted) and readers should note that the position on any issue may subsequently change.

Agenda item 1 – Welcome

Introductions, review of action items and previous minutes

Outcome: The minutes of the previous meeting October 2013 were endorsed, and all action items closed. No conflicts of interest were declared.

Pauline informed members that future meeting minutes would be in a new format and a record of the meeting only, rather than in-depth detailed minutes. These would be circulated following meetings.

Agenda item 2 – Agency updates

2.1 ATO

  • Compliance activities
  • Recent seizures

2.2 Customs and Border Protection Service

  • Six monthly update on illicit tobacco

2.3 Department of Health

  • Protocol on illicit trade update

Outcome: All agencies provided updates on current work and statistics in the illicit tobacco arena.


Peter Harding provided an overview of 2014-15 compliance action as follows:

Geoff Butcher, ATO, provided the meeting with an update on recent seizures and operations. Barry Wilson, BATA, noted the success of the good results of investigations in Victoria.

Pauline advised that the ATO and Customs are working together to strengthen intelligence capabilities.


Janaka Seneviratne provided a copy of the regular six monthly Customs report - Illicit Cigarette and Tobacco Detection Summary - July to December 2013. Key findings include:


Judith Baker advised that the Department of Health had received 90 complaints to date about potential non-compliance with the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011.

Judith informed the meeting that there are some issues with shisha tobacco and that the Department of Health had recently sent out a Question and Answer document to shisha tobacco suppliers.

Work is continuing on the Protocol and in recent months, 54 countries have added their signatures. An in-depth report on the AITP was not provided due to the absence of Lloyd Weedall.

Action item 08042014-1

Due date: out of session

Responsibility: Department of Health to provide AITP update to members via email

Secretariat note – update provided to members via email on 18 August 2014

Agenda item 3 – Industry

  • KPMG report on 'Illicit Tobacco in Australia'

Industry updates

Sean McGill from KPMG London provided an overview of the soon to be released report on 'Illicit Tobacco in Australia' (the report). The report was prepared by KPMG in the UK on behalf of the tobacco industry.

The report noted the following:

Sean asked members for ideas on ways to improve the report. Adam Friederich asked Sean how KPMG treat the mail channel, noting that Customs may be able to assist with data.

Barry Wilson circulated a report to members on the BATA covert purchase program.

Clayton Ford advised members that Philip Morris will be ceasing production in Melbourne by the end of 2014 and will be decommissioning the factory from 2015. Philip Morris is working with the ATO in relation to licences.

Rodney Kretchmer asked the ATO for an update on EEG. This will be included as an agenda item for the next meeting.

Agenda item 4 – Other business

There was no other business.

Meeting closed at 12:40pm

Next meeting: details to be confirmed, October 2014

    Last modified: 30 Oct 2014QC 42964