​​​​​​​

 Report 23

Review of Customs and Excise Decisions: Stage Two, 1985

Summary of the report

The report was transmitted to the Government on 28 June 1985, and was tabled in the Parliament on 13 November 1985.

The major recommendations in the report are:

  • that the right of appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction in disputes as to duty, which existed as an alternative to Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT') review, should be abolished,
  • that the jurisdiction of the Minister for Health to review certain decisions of the Secretary to the Department of Health be transferred to the AAT,
  • that the procedure for payment under protest be abolished, and replaced by a 'notice of dispute' procedure,
  • that decisions relating to an application for permission to import or export a prohibited good should be subject to review by the AAT, subject to a power in the Minister to issue a certificate which would have the effect of excluding review in particular cases,
  • that most decisions relating to the taking of securities, the movement of goods and the disposal of goods should be subject to review by the AAT, and
  • that most decisions of a law enforcement nature made under the Customs legislation should not be subject to review by the AAT.

Response to the report

The Government deferred its decision on the report, pending an Australian Law Reform Commission ('ALRC') report on its Customs and Excise reference.

The ALRC's report was tabled on 7 May 1992. In 1993 the Government appointed a Committee to review the Australian Customs Service ('ACS'), and more particularly the management and operations of the ACS. The release of the subsequent Conroy Report: Review of the Australian Customs Service 1993 - the Turning Point (December 1993) complicated the situation, as that report did not appear to be entirely compatible with some of the ALRC's report. The Committee discussed the recommendations of the ALRC in its report. It said that the full benefits of modern Customs and Excise legislation, that would result from implementation of the ALRC's report, would not be felt until there was an equivalent improvement within the ACS itself. Further, that the ACS had to determine its response to the Conroy Report, and to resolve any conflicting recommendations arising from all reports. Other recommendations of the Committee differed from that of the ALRC.

In March 1996 the Attorney-General's Department advised the Council that the issue had then become whether the specific recommendations in its report should be addressed, in light of the possibility that the Government might decide to repeal the relevant legislation and enact new laws.

The report has not been implemented to date.