Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs Senator the honourable Amanda Vanstone)
The purpose of this Bill is to:
- amend the Customs Act 1901 (the Customs Act) to provide for increased penalties for a range of import and export offences, including custodial sentences;
- amend the Customs Act and the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 (the Australian Postal Corporation Act) to enhance Customs powers to detect illicit drugs;
- amend the Customs Act to make a number of technical amendments related to the drugs and other prohibited goods provisions; and
- amend the Customs Administration Act 1985 (the Customs Administration Act) in relation to the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer.
Schedule 1 of the Bill proposes amendments to the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 to provide Customs officers with the power to open international postal articles reasonably believed to consist of, or contain, drugs or certain other chemical compounds. This power is currently limited to Australia Post employees.
Schedule 2 of the Bill proposes amendments to the Customs Act 1901 to provide for increased penalties for certain import and export offences; to enhance Customs powers to conduct external personal searches by the use of new technology; to extend the power of arrest to cover the new offences; to extend the period for which Customs may retain goods seized for evidentiary purposes and to improve arrangements for disposal of abandoned goods.
Schedule 3 of the Bill proposes amendments to the Customs Administration Act 1985 to allow for appointment or reappointment of the Chief Executive Officer of Customs for periods of up to 5 years.