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Report 3 - Review of Import Control and Customs By-Law Decisions

Administrative Review Council report

Administrative law
Publication date

Review of Import Control and Customs By-Law Decisions, 1979

Summary of the report

The Council's report was transmitted to the Government on 25 June 1979, and was tabled in the Parliament on 20 May 1982.

In its report, the Council recommended that jurisdiction be vested in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ('AAT') to review:

  • decisions allocating quotas,
  • decisions refusing to accept an application for by-law entry of goods, and
  • refusals of the Minister to refer a by-law question to the Industries Assistance Commission.

The report also recommends that jurisdiction be vested in the Industries Assistance Commission, to review decisions granting or refusing by-law entry of goods, but with the Commission having power only to recommend a course of action.

The Council considered these recommendations to be the most efficient and suitable way of providing external review, although it was recognised that the implementation of the proposed system would, no doubt, be affected by an evaluation of certain matters which the Council had not been able to measure.

Response to the report

The Customs Amendment Act 1983 created a new system for granting tariff concessions, known as the Commercial Tariff Concession Scheme. This system modified the commercial by-law system that was the subject of the Council 's report. Nevertheless, the two systems were comparable in terms of the appropriate review procedures.

The Council's recommendations relating to recommendatory review by the Industries Assistance Commission were incorporated into the new Scheme. However, contrary to other recommendations of the Council, in relation to the commercial by-law system: the refusal of the Minister to refer the matter to the Commission was not made reviewable by the AAT; no criteria governing referral were specified in the Act; and, there was no pre-condition to referral, that there has been an internal reconsideration adverse to the applicant.

Later developments also affected the Council's recommendations. The Customs and Excise Legislation Amendment Act 1985 amended the Customs Act 1901 on 30 May 1985. The amendments had the effect of creating additional decision-making powers. The Council wrote to the Attorney-General on 13 May 1985 advising that it considered that three decision-making powers contained in the legislation should be subject to review by the AAT. The Act, as passed, did not implement the Council's advice. The Council's advice was repeated in Report No. 23.