House of Representatives

Customs Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2012

Second Reading Speech

Mr Clare (Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice and Cabinet Secretary)

This bill contains amendments that makes it an offence to bring a new class of goods, known as restricted goods, into Australia without a permit. Restricted goods will include child pornography and child abuse material. This bill gives Customs and Border Protection officers the power to seize restricted goods and prosecute the owner. This will include restricted goods in the personal effects of a ship's crew. Currently, these goods are considered to be in transit and may be secured by Customs and Border Protection before being returned to the owner on departure from Australia. These changes mean strengthening our action against these goods coming into Australia. The offence in this measure carries a maximum penalty of 1,000 penalty units, which is similar to the penalties for the unlawful importation or exportation of goods. The size of the penalty reflects the seriousness of the offence and is approximately half of the pecuniary penalty for intentionally importing child pornography, child abuse material or other Tier 2 goods.

The bill also contains a number of measures designed to clarify the intention of certain provisions making them easier to understand and providing certainty for industry. For example, the bill makes minor changes to ensure Customs and Border Protection is able to set up permanent and temporary customs controlled areas in the maritime and air environments when dealing with aircraft and ships carrying only crew and when processing cruise ships. This provision will give Customs and Border Protection flexibility and improve efficiency with customs, crew and operators. The bill makes a number of minor technical corrections, including amending valuation provisions to ensure consistency with the World Trade Organization's Customs Valuation Agreement. It also repeals a number of redundant provisions. I would like to thank industry and industry members who have provided comments on the bill during a period of consultation last year and I thank the speakers on this bill, and I commend it to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.