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Tuesday, 14 June 2005
Page: 209


Mr McClelland asked the Minister representing the Minister for Justice and Customs, in writing, on 10 May 2005:

(1)   What is the Government’s policy on interdicting and boarding cargo vessels that fail to provide cargo reports detailing the content of their cargo 48 hours prior to arriving at an Australian port, as required under s64AB of the Customs Act 1901 and r26B of the Customs Regulations 1926.

(2)   What maritime capacity does the Australian Customs Service (ACS) have to interdict and board late reporting cargo vessels.

(3)   How are the ACS vessels armed.


Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The Minister for Justice and Customs has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   Customs risk assesses all commercial vessels in advance of arrival and boards those considered high risk immediately on arrival. Customs does not interdict and board vessels prior to arrival for failure to report cargo within the stipulated timeframes.

(2)   Customs has eight Australian Customs Vessels (ACVs).

(3)   The crews of the ACVs currently have access to personal defence equipment that include Glock 9mm handguns, M16 Armalite 5.56mm automatic rifles, shotguns, capsicum spray, batons and handcuffs. The 2005-06 Budget provided funding for all ACVs to be fitted with deck-mounted 7.62 mm FN Herstal MAG General Purpose Machine Guns.