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Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

1. The Law Council has a long history of providing assistance to the government of the day by offering considered, non-partisan opinions on the legislation that affects both Australian public and private interests. It is from this perspective that the Law Council welcomes the broad government initiatives regarding the reduction of red tape and the amendment of legislation in order to expedite government policy at the Australian border as it relates to commerce and the passage of natural persons. In this regard this submission seeks to provide our considered opinion on the action and outcomes flowing form some amendments proposed under the Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill)

2. The Bill represents a number of amendments to the Customs Act 1901 (Cth), the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905 (Cth) and the Maritime Powers Act 2013 (Cth). The focus of the Law Council in this instance is on the provisions relating to the following: (a) Subsections 40(2) and 40(3) of the Maritime Powers Act; and 

(b) Subsections 269D(1) and 269E(2) of the Customs Act. 

3. To that end, the Business Law Section’s Customs and International Transactions Committee and the Law Council Secretariat have together drafted this submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (the Committee). 

4. The recommendations of the Law Council for these provisions are as follows: (a) Proposed subsection 40(2) is amended to ensure compliance with Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea1 (UNCLOS); 

(b) Proposed subsection 40(3) is not passed; 

(c) Proposed amendment to subsection 269D(1) is not passed; and 

(d) Proposed amendments to subsection 269E(2) are not passed. 

5. The Law Council would be pleased to elaborate on any of the material contained in this submission, either in writing or in person, in order to assist the considerations of the Committee. 

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