There has been significant interest in the new conditions which the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (“Customs”) is imposing on those it licenses including licensed customs brokers, warehouse operators and depot operators. These new conditions will commence with effect from 1 July 2012.

The full extent of the changes to be effected by these new conditions is still far from clear. The CBFCA has already actively engaged with Customs in expressing concerns regarding the conditions and reviewing draft versions of the conditions. This engagement has included a number of meetings with Customs, correspondence with Customs and the Minister for Home Affairs regarding the conditions and working to address concerns directly with Customs. One aim is to seek clarification on a number of the conditions.

I have also been involved in that work on behalf of the CBFCA.

While some of the new conditions as applied to licensed customs brokers relate to new Continuing Professional Development obligations, the other conditions on those licensed by Customs create significant new obligations and business risks on those holding such licenses.

In general terms some of the new conditions include:

  • Obligations to provide information to Customs in relation to directors, officers and employees to allow Customs to determine whether those persons should be able to be employed in such businesses.
  • Obligations to report possible breaches of the law, whether arising through deliberate or inadvertent act or arising from omission, as soon as practicable. These obligations apply to possible breaches of the law and whether the breach is by the broker, its employees or clients.
  • Obligations to implement levels of physical and electronic security at licensed premises.
  • Obligations to report all and any damage to goods held in licensed premises.
  • Obligations to control access to Customs electronic systems and not to allow them to be used for prescribed unlawful purposes.

These changes will require changes to business practices including new employment conditions, changes to terms and conditions of trade and changes to operational procedures. They will also require changes to the types and levels of insurances held by those in the industry.

As many of you would be aware, I conduct a number of “Member Forums” for the CBFCA and many of these will be conducted during July. These new conditions and the consequences for business will be a primary point of discussion during those Member Forums. Details can found on the CBFCA website (www.cbfca.com.au).