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Australian Coast Guard Bill 2001

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1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN COAST GUARD BILL 2001

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the

Hon Kim Beazley MP)



AUSTRALIAN COAST GUARD BILL 2001

 

OUTLINE

 

  1. The purpose of the Australian Coast Guard Bill 2001 (“this Bill”) is to provide the framework for the establishment of the Australian Coast Guard as a Commonwealth maritime police agency.
  2. The Australian Coast Guard is necessary to protect Australian waters and Australia’s borders from an increasing range of criminal, environmental and other threats.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

  1. There is no direct financial impact arising from the provisions of this Bill.  Commitment to additional establishment funding, to the extent determined by the Parliament, can be provided for in future appropriations Bills.
  2. The budget of the Australian Coast Guard will pull together existing coastal surveillance and operations resources from across government departments and agencies, particularly Coastwatch, the Australian Customs Service, Australian Maritime Search and Rescue, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.   This will achieve considerable economies of scale through streamlined administrative arrangements, resource-sharing, and operational coordination.
  3. Further, the Fremantle patrol boat capability of the Royal Australian Navy will be transferred to the Australian Coast Guard.
  4. The costs associated with effective policing of Australian waters will be offset with the resultant reduction in criminal activity, and protection of environmental and economic interests.

 



AUSTRALIAN COAST GUARD BILL 2001

 

NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Clause 1        Short title

 

1.                The short title by which this Act may be cited is the Australian Coast Guard Act 2001 .

 

Clause 2        Commencement

 

2.                This clause provides that the Act commences on a day to fixed on proclamation, and that such day must be after the Parliament has appropriated any funds necessary for this Act, and has passed the motions referred to in section 4(2) and section 6(2).

 

Clause 3        Interpretation

 

3.                This clause defines certain terms that are used in the Act.

4.                Coastal area is defined to mean the area comprising the waters of:

                     (a)  the territorial sea of Australia; and

                     (b)  the sea on the landward side of the territorial sea of Australia and not within the limits of a State or an internal Territory.

5.                “Constable”  includes a member of the police force of a State or Territory.

6.                “O fficer of police includes a member of the police force of a State or Territory and a member of the Australian Federal Police .

7.                “Contiguous zone”, in relation to Australia, means the contiguous zone within the meaning of the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973 , adjacent to the coast of Australia.

8.                “Exclusive economic zone”, in relation to Australia, has the same meaning as in the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973

9.                “Member of the Australian Federal Police” includes a special member of the Australian Federal Police, within the meaning of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 .

10.             “Officer”means an officer of the Australian Coast Guard.

11.             “Customs officer” means an officer as defined in the Customs Act 1901 .

12.             “Fisheries officer” means an officer as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 .

13.             “Migration officer” means an officer as defined in the Migration Act 1958 .

14.             “Territorial sea”, in relation to Australia, means the territorial sea area whose outer limits are from time to time specified in a Proclamation made by the Governor-General for the purposes of section 7 of the Seas and Submerged Lands Act 1973 .

 

CLAUSE 4    ESTABLISHMENT AND CONSTITUTION OF THE COAST GUARD

 

15.          This clause sets out the functions of the Australian Coast Guard. 

16.          Sub-clause 2 of clause 4 makes it clear that the command, employment and administrative arrangements of the Australian Coast Guard are to be approved by both Houses of the Parliament.  By virtue of Clause 2, this must occur before this Act commences.

17.          Sub-clause 3 of clause 4 sets out the functions of the Australian Coast Guard to include:

·           The provision of border protection and police services upon Australia’s coastal area, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone in relation to:

  • laws of the Commonwealth; and
  • property of the Commonwealth (including Commonwealth places) and property of authorities of the Commonwealth; and
  • the safeguarding of Commonwealth interests;  and

·           all of the functions previously undertaken by the Coastwatch arm of the Australian Customs Service, including surveillance of Australia’s coastal area, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone; and

·           coordination of search and rescue operations in maritime zones which fall under the responsibility of Australia; and

·           response to oil spills and other environmental incidents upon Australia’s coastal area, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone; and

·           other functions as prescribed.

18.          Sub-clause 4 of clause 4 provides that in times of war, the Australian Coast Guard will come under the direct command of the Australian Defence Force.

 

CLAUSE 5    LAWS CONFERRING POWERS ON OFFICERS

 

19.          Clause 5 makes it clear that the officers of the Australian Coast Guard will have all of the policing powers necessary to fulfil its functions.

20.          Subclause 1 provides that officers of the Australian Coast Guard will have all of the powers and duties in relation to:

·         search and seizure;  and

·         pursuit, boarding, detention and transfer of aircraft and ships; and

·         questioning, detention, transfer and arrest of persons,

that are conferred or imposed on members of the:

·         Australian Federal Police under all Commonwealth legislation; and

·         Customs officers under the Customs Act 1901 ; and

·         Fisheries officers under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 ; and

·         Migration officers Migration Act 1958 .

21.          Subclause 2 provides that where any provisions of a law of a State apply in relation to offences against the laws of the Commonwealth or a Territory, and those provisions refer to a constable or an officer of police, they are to apply to officers of the Australian Coast Guard.

22.          Under subclause 3, further powers and duties may be given to officers of the Australian Coast Guard via regulation.

 

CLAUSE 6    ARMING OF THE AUSTRALIAN COAST GUARD

 

23.          This clause provides that the vessels, aircraft and officers of the Australian Coast Guard will be armed.

24.          Under subclause 2, conditions relating to the weapons and equipment used by the Australian Coast Guard are to be approved by both Houses of the Parliament. By virtue of Clause 2, this must occur before this Act commences.

 

CLAUSE 7    REGULATIONS

 

25.       This clause provides that the Governor-General may make regulations required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.