Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 3720

(Question No. 4819)


Dr Watson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, upon notice, on 20 October 1986:

(1) What is the estimated percentage of tonnage which is likely to be transferred from each Australian port to Sydney and Melbourne as a result of the introduction of the integrated cargo control and clearance system for Australian ports.

(2) Did the Government conduct an inquiry into the effect of the proposed system on ports other than Sydney and Melbourne; if so, can he give an assurance that the infrastructure in ports other than Sydney and Melbourne will be sufficient to maintain the ability of manufacturers in States other than New South Wales or Victoria to maximise their export potential.

(3) Were the cost and benefits to importers in Brisbane and Adelaide compared prior to making the decision to introduce the new system; if so, what were the details of that comparison.

(4) What is the average time taken under the present system for the unloading and forwarding of bonded stores between (a) Sydney and Brisbane and (b) Melbourne and Adelaide.

(5) Have entire containers gone missing from Sydney wharves in 1986; if so, had these containers been inspected and cleared by Customs Officers.

(6) How will the proposed system assist in overcoming the illegal importation of drugs and other contraband.

(7) What is the estimated percentage of drugs smuggled into Australia (a) by passengers and crew arriving at international airports, (b) by aircraft arriving at remote air-strips, (c) by ships arriving at remote places on the coastline, (d) by inter-ship transfers in harbours controlled by Customs officers, and (e) which have been concealed within cargo arriving at airports and harbours controlled by Customs officers.


Mr Barry Jones —The Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce has supplied the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) The pattern of discharge of cargo at Australian ports is determined by shipping and airline operators on the basis of contractual arrangements between shippers and importers. The Australian Customs Service (ACS) does not believe that the current pattern of port utilisation will change as a result of the Integrated Cargo Control and Clearance System (ICCCS).

(2) The ACS has not conducted any formal inquiries into the effects of ICCCS on Australian ports. The ICCCS consists of a series of proposals which have been the subject of extensive consultation with interested parties. The ACS has circulated a discussion paper to seek written comment by 30 January 1987 on the features and impact of the ICCCS.

(3) A decision to introduce the new system has not been taken and will not be taken until comments received on the discussion paper have been evaluated and appropriate trials have been conducted and appraised. The ACS does not believe additional costs will be incurred because of the system but rather benefits will accrue to importers irrespective of their location.

(4) Information available to the ACS shows container movement times during 1985 and 1986 as follows:

(i) from discharge in Sydney to availability in Brisbane-8 to 10 days

(ii) from discharge in Melbourne to availability in Adelaide 11 to 12 days.

(5) Four (4) containers have gone missing from Sydney wharves/terminals during 1986.

One of these containers was subject to specific Customs query and was yet to be cleared by Customs.

(6) Much cargo is transferred from the port of arrival to ports of final destination under nominal control systems based on superficial information provided by carriers. The proposed system will

(i) improve the data available and its quality

(ii) assist in identifying consignments for special attention

(7) The following Tables show the pattern of drug seizures (by means of entry) as a percentage of total drug seizures by the ACS in the period 1981-October 1986 (inclusive).

The notes below provide explanatory comment on both these seizure records and the overall picture of importation of illicit drugs over the past six years.

The pattern of drug importation is an ever-changing one, and, at least in part, it reflects the impact of developments in Customs interdiction methods.

Single, large shipments of drugs (such as the seizure of nearly two tonnes of cannabis in Western Australia in March this year), have the capacity to dramatically distort the picture shown by statistical analysis alone.

These drug seizure statistics represent only those seizures in which Customs was involved in the detection and apprehension.

Table 1

DRUG SEIZURES, 1981-1986 (Oct):

PERCENTAGES BY DRUG TYPE AND MEANS OF ENTRY

Heroin

Cocaine

Cannabis

%

%

%

(a) Passengers and crew at international airports ...

51.7

80.1

3.2

(b) Aircraft at remote airstrips ...

0.0

0.0

0.0

(c) Ships at remote places on coastline ...

0.0

0.0

19.5

(d) Intership transfers ...

0.0

0.0

0.0

(e) Concealed in cargoes arriving at airports and harbours ...

26.5

0.0

75.5

Table 2

DRUG SEIZURES, 1981-1986 (Oct): PERCENTAGES AND WEIGHTS IN Kg

Heroin

Cocaine

Cannabis

(a) Passengers and crew at international airports ...

51.7

118.6

%...80.1

Kg...42.3

%...3.2

Kg...454.4

%

Kg

(b) Aircraft at remote airstrips ...

0.0

0.0

0.0

(c) Ships at remote places on coastline ...

0.0

0.0

19.5

2 804.0

%1

Kg

(d) Intership transfers ...

0.0

0.0

0.0

(e) Concealed in cargoes arriving at airports and harbours ...

26.5

60.9

%...0.0

Kg

75.5

10 859.3

%

Kg

(f) Ship search ...

15.7

36.1

%...0.0

Kg

0.1

14.6

%

Kg

(g) Sea passengers ...

0.4

1.0

%...0.0

Kg

0.1

15.4

%

Kg

(h) Parcels post ...

5.2

12.0

%...13.3

Kg...7.0

%...1.6

Kg...175.8

%

Kg

(i) Other ...

0.5

0.9

%...6.6

Kg...3.5

%...0.0

Kg...64.5

%

Kg

Total Weights ...

229.5

Kg...52.8

Kg...14,388.0

Kg

1 This figure includes a single seizure of 1 919 kg in the Shark Bay area of W.A. in March 1986.