Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Select Legislative Instrument 2006 No. 195


Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Justice and Customs


Customs Act 1901


Customs (Prohibited Exports) Amendment Regulations 2006 (No. 2)


Subsection 270(1) of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides, in part, that the Governor‑General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters which by the Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to the Act or for the conduct of any other business relating to the Customs.


Section 112 of the Act provides in part that the Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the exportation of goods from Australia and that the powers may be exercised by prohibiting the exportation of goods absolutely or by prohibiting the exportation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with. 


The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (the Principal Regulations) control the exportation of the goods specified in the various regulations and the Schedules to the Principal Regulations, by prohibiting exportation absolutely, or by making exportation subject to a permission or licence.


The purpose of the amending Regulations is to extend the current controls on the exportation of human embryos for a further year by amending the sunset clause in subregulation 7(16) of the Principal Regulations.


On 27 February 2003, the Australian Government tabled amendments to regulation 7 of the Principal Regulations which placed an absolute ban on the export of human embryos from Australia.   The prohibition gave effect to commitments made by the Government during the parliamentary debate on the Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 (the Human Cloning Act).  The ban was to be in force for 12 months in order to allow a review of whether it is practical to allow the export of human embryos in a manner that is consistent with the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (the Research Act).  


On 27 March 2003, recognising concerns raised by couples seeking to export IVF embryos for the purposes of continuing their treatment overseas or in accordance with surrogacy arrangements, the Australian Government replaced the absolute prohibition in regulation 7 with an arrangement to allow the Minister for Justice and Customs to grant permission for the export of human embryos from Australia in certain circumstances. The arrangements were to remain in place for 12 months.  This period was designed to allow the prohibition to be further considered within the context of a review of the Human Cloning Act and the Research Act.


Regulation 7 was further amended on 10 March 2004 to extend the sunset period for the existing controls to 31 July 2006, to better coincide with the expected completion of the review of the Human Cloning Act and the Research Act.





The Legislation Review of Australia's Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002 and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (the Lockhart Review) concluded on 19 December 2005 with the tabling of its reports in both houses of Parliament.

The amending Regulations amend subregulation 7(16) so that regulation 7 ceases to have effect at the end of 31 July 2007. This allows the Australian Government further time to consider the Lockhart Review recommendations.

No consultation was undertaken in relation to the amending Regulations as they are of a minor or machinery nature and do not substantially alter existing arrangements.

The amending Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.





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