This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Customs criteria on what "substantially duplicates a military firearm" that makes it banned from importation'.


FOI Document #1
 
FOI
From:
s22(1)(a)(ii)
Sent:
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 6:43 PM
To:
s22(1)(a)(ii)
Cc:
Subject:

FW: Classification of Troy Sporting Rifle [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
FYI 
 
From: firearms.enquiries [mailto:[email address]]  
Sent: Monday, 29 February 2016 4:55 PM 
To: s22(1)(a)(ii)
Cc: firearms.enquiries 
Subject: Classification of Troy Sporting Rifle [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED] 
 
UNCLASSIFIED 
Good afternoon s22(1  
 
)( )(ii)
Thank you for hosting us a couple of weeks ago, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
 
After further discussions back at the office informed by our visit, we can confirm that our position has not changed 
on this matter.  The Troy Sporting Rifle is controlled as an Item 12 article under Part 2 of Schedule 6 to the Customs 
(Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956

 
As noted at the meeting, we are willing to consider alternative designs – noting that we have resource constraints 
limiting how much specific assistance we can provide. 
 
Thanks again, and happy to discuss. 
 
s22(1)
 
Firearms
( )(ii)
 Team 
Criminal Justice Division 
Attorney‐General's Department 
 
T: s22(1)(a)(ii)
 
F: (02) 6141 5463 
E: [email address]  
E: [email address]    
 
For further information about importing firearms and firearm related articles, please visit our firearms importation 
website: www.ag.gov.au/firearms   
 
This advice is current at the time of writing and is specific to the particular information it has been provided in 
response to.  This advice may be superseded by changes to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 or 
changes to government policy.  Before relying on this advice, importers should seek confirmation from the Attorney‐
General’s Department that Government policy or Regulations have not changed. 
 
 
 
If you have received this transmission in error please 
notify us immediately by return e-mail and delete all 
 
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FOI Document #1
 
copies. If this e-mail or any attachments have been sent 
to you in error, that error does not constitute waiver 
of any confidentiality, privilege or copyright in respect 
of information in the e-mail or attachments. 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
EXPLANATORY STATEMENT 
 
Select Legislative Instrument 2008 No. 255 
 
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Home Affairs  
Customs Act 1901 
Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2008 (No. 6) 
 
Subsection 270(1) of the Customs Act (1901) (the Act) relevantly provides 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 for giving effect 
to the Act or as may be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to 
the Act or for the conduct of any business relating to Customs. 
Section 50 of the Act relevantly provides that the Governor-General may, by 
regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia and that the power may be 
exercised by prohibiting the importation of goods in specified circumstances or unless 
specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.  Further, subsection 50(3) of 
the Act relevantly provides that the regulations may provide that the importation of 
the goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to import the 
goods or a class of goods in which the goods are included has been granted as 
prescribed by the regulations made under the Act. 
 
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Principal Regulations) 
control the importation of the goods specified in the various regulations and 
Schedules, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or making importation subject to 
the permission of a Minister or a specified person.  
 
The purpose of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2008 
(No. ) (the amending regulations) was to amend the Principal Regulations to provide 
that:   
(a)  importers must hold a licence or authorisation that is relevant to the purpose of 
their importation  in accordance with the law of the State or Territory in which 
the article is to be used – previously the only requirement was for the importer 
to have a licence to possess the firearm. The amendment achieves greater 
harmonisation and consistency in licensing requirements across 
Commonwealth and State and Territory jurisdictions, and supports licensing 
requirements at the States and Territories level; 
(b) an article may be imported under the official purposes test for exhibition at a 
museum by the government of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, and 
be owned by any person.  The amendment allows for articles or collections 
owned by a foreign government or individual to be displayed in a museum by 
an Australian government;  
(c)  manual firearms that are substantially the same in appearance as a fully 
automatic firearm be subject to the same regulatory controls as fully automatic 
firearms. Almost all States and Territories have legislation that effectively 
restricts access to manual firearms which resemble fully automatic firearms.  
The amendment is designed to achieve greater harmonisation between 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation and provide greater certainty 
on the controls of firearms; and    
(d) the phrase ‘fully automatic firearms’ be included as a new category in item 15 
to ensure clarification that magazines for fully automatic firearms are also 
covered by item 15 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 to the Principal Regulations.  The 
amendment clarifies that they are subject to higher import controls. 
In developing the amending Regulations, consultation was undertaken across 
Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies involved in firearms management.  In 
addition to this, a consultation paper was sent out to industry stakeholders, including 
the 18 members of the Sporting Shooters and Firearms Advisory Council (an 
Australian Government consultative forum) and a range of firearms importers active 
in the past two years, inviting submissions in relation to the amending Regulations.  A 
large number of submissions were received and considered in the development of the 
amending Regulations. 
The amending Regulations were designed to maintain a balance between the interests 
of those who have a genuine need to have access to and use firearms and the interests 
of the broader community to live in a safe and secure environment. 
 
The Regulations commence on the day after they are registered on the Federal 
Register of Legislative Instruments. 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
 
Attachment A 
 
NOTES ON CLAUSES 
Clause 1: Name of Regulations  
This clause is a formal provision specifying the name of the Customs (Prohibited 
Imports) Amendment Regulations 2008 (No. 6)
. 
Clause 2: Commencement 
This clause is a statement that the Regulations will commence on the day after they 
are registered. 
Clause 3: Amendment of Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the 
Principal Regulations) 

This clause provides that each regulation that is specified in Schedule 1 is amended or 
repealed as set out in that Schedule. 
 
Clause 4:  Transitional
 
 
This clause provides that the proposed amendments made by Schedule 1 apply in 
relation to a request for a permission, made on or after the date on which these 
Regulations commence, to import a firearm, a firearm accessory, a firearm part, a 
firearm magazine, ammunition, a component of ammunition or a replica mentioned in 
regulation 4F of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956
 
Schedule 1 – Amendments  
 
Item 1 
 
This item is a consequential amendment to Item 2 and amended Schedule 6, Part 1, 
paragraph 1.2 (b) of the Principal Regulations to allow for new paragraph (c). 
 
Item 2 
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 1, paragraph 1.2 of the Principal Regulations to 
include a new paragraph (c) stipulating that the Attorney-General must not give 
written permission for the importation of an article under the official purposes test 
unless satisfied that the importer holds a relevant licence or authorisation to possess 
the article for the importer’s intended use in accordance with the law of the State or 
Territory in which the article is to be used.  The new provision requires that an 
importer be able to demonstrate that they are appropriately licensed or authorised by 
the relevant State or Territory for their intended use of the article.  For example, if the 
importer is importing the article with the intention of selling the article to government, 
then the importer must hold a licence that permits the sale, or not be required to hold a 
licence for the sale – meaning they are otherwise authorised. An authorisation is 
considered to exist in circumstances where the law of the relevant State or Territory 
does not require the importer to have a licence for the importer’s intended use.  
 
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FOI Document #2
 
Essentially the importer needs to meet any relevant licensing or authorisation required 
by the relevant State or Territory for what they intend to do with the articles.  
Under this amendment, the licence does not need to specifically mention the activity 
concerned, but rather the activity simply needs to be permitted under the licence or 
authorisation that applies to the importer. 
 
 
The amendment provides for greater harmonisation of Commonwealth, State and 
Territory provisions, and also supports the licensing requirements of the States and 
Territories by making them part of the import process.  
 
Item 3 
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 1, paragraph 1.4, table, Item 2, column 2,    
paragraph (c) of the Principal Regulations to include new paragraph (d).  
 
New paragraph (d) provides that an article exhibited at a museum by the government 
of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory may be owned by any person in 
accordance with the conditions of the official purposes test.  The effect of the 
amendment is to allow museums such as the Australian War Memorial to temporarily 
import articles for exhibition that are owned by a foreign government or individuals.   
Items 4 through 6, Item 8 through 11, Item 21 and Items 23 through 29  
These items have the effect that importers must hold a licence or authorisation that is 
relevant to the purpose of their importation in accordance with the law of the State or 
Territory in which the article is to be used.   For this amendment, the licence does not 
need to specifically mention the activity concerned, but rather the activity simply 
needs to be permitted under the licence or authorisation that apply to the importer.   
 
The amendment provides for greater harmonisation of Commonwealth, State and 
Territory provisions, and supports the licensing requirements of the States and 
Territories by making them part of the import process.  
 
Item 7 
 
This item is a technical amendment that corrects a reference. 
 
Item 12 
 
This item is a consequential amendment to item 13 and amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, 
Item 1, column 2 of the Principal Regulations. 
 
Item 13 
 
This item amended Schedule 6, Part 2, Item 1, column 2 of the Principal Regulations 
to include new paragraph (b).  The previous paragraphs (a) and (b) are now numbered 
as subparagraphs (i) and (ii).  
 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
New paragraph (b) provides that any firearm listed in Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 1, 
column 2 of the Principal Regulations that is substantially the same in appearance as a 
fully automatic firearm cannot be included under Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 1, column 
2 of the Principal Regulations.  The amendment ensured that firearms normally 
classified as Item 1 that are substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic 
firearm, regardless of their manner of operation, design or colour, are classified under 
Schedule 6 of Part 2, item 12 of the Principal Regulations.  Therefore, importation of 
these firearms requires compliance with the official purposes test, the specified 
purposes test, or the returned goods test.  A decision that a firearm is substantially the 
same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm requires comparison between the 
particular firearm that is to be imported and a fully automatic firearm in existence.  
Substantially the same in appearance allows for some differing characteristics.  For 
example the colour, the existence of magazines, stock covers and sight rails may not 
necessarily be determinative. 
 
In almost all States and Territories these firearms are more tightly controlled than a 
Category A or Category B firearm.  Therefore, the amendment provides greater 
harmonisation and consistency of firearms regulations across both Commonwealth 
and State and Territory jurisdictions.   
 
Item 14  
 
This item is a consequential amendment to Item 15. 
 
Item 15 
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, item 2, column 2 of the Principal 
Regulations to include new paragraph (b).  The previous paragraphs (a) and (b) are 
now numbered as subparagraphs (i) and (ii).  
 
New paragraph (b) provides that any firearm listed in Schedule 6 of Part 2, item 2, 
column 2 of the Principal Regulations that is substantially the same in appearance as a 
fully automatic firearm cannot be included under Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 1, 
column 2 of the Principal Regulations.  The proposed amendment ensures that 
firearms normally classified as Item 2 that are substantially the same in appearance as 
a fully automatic firearm, regardless of their manner of operation, design or colour, 
are classified under Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 12 of the Principal Regulations.  
Therefore, importation of these firearms requires compliance with the official 
purposes test, the specified purposes test, or the returned goods test.  A decision that a 
firearm is substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm requires 
comparison between the particular firearm that is to be imported and a fully automatic 
firearm in existence.  Substantially the same in appearance allows for some differing 
characteristics.  For example the colour, the existence of magazines, stock covers and 
sight rails may not necessarily be determinative. 
 
In almost all States and Territories these firearms are more tightly controlled than a 
Category A or Category B firearm.  Therefore, the amendment provides greater 
harmonisation and consistency of firearms regulations across both Commonwealth 
and State and Territory jurisdictions.   
 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
Item 16  
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 9, column 2, paragraph (b) of the 
Principal Regulations to replace the words ‘resembles in appearance a sub-machine 
gun, a machine pistol or a handgun that has a fully automatic firing capability’ with 
‘is substantially the same in appearance as a sub-machine gun, a machine pistol or a 
handgun that has a fully automatic firing capability’.  This amendment ensures that 
handguns or soft air handguns that are substantially the same in appearance as a 
sub-machine gun, a machine pistol or a handgun that has a fully automatic firing 
capability, do not fall to Item 9 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  
Rather, such firearms, regardless of their manner of operation, design or colour, are 
classified under Item 12 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  
Therefore, the importation of these firearms requires compliance with the official 
purposes test, the specified purposes test, or the returned goods test.  By replacing the 
phrase ‘resembles in appearance’ with ‘is substantially the same in appearance as’ the 
amendment ensures consistency in phrasing within Schedule 6 of the Principal 
Regulations. 
 
Item 17  
 
This item amends Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 9A, column 2, of the Principal 
Regulations to replace the words ‘resembles in appearance a sub-machine gun, a 
machine pistol or a handgun that has a fully automatic firing capability’ with ‘is 
substantially the same in appearance as a sub-machine gun, a machine pistol or a 
handgun that has a fully automatic firing capability’.  This amendment ensures that 
replicas that are substantially the same in appearance as a sub-machine gun, a 
machine pistol or a handgun that has a fully automatic firing capability, do not fall to 
Item 9A of Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  Rather, such firearms, 
regardless of their manner of operation, design or colour, will be classified under 
Item 12 of Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  Therefore the 
importation of these firearms requires compliance with the official purposes test, the 
specified purposes test, or the returned goods test.  By replacing the phrase ‘resembles 
in appearance’ with ‘is substantially the same in appearance as’ the amendment 
ensures consistency in phrasing within Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations. 
  
Item 18  
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 12, column 2 of the Principal 
Regulations to provide that a firearm, not being a firearm to which Items 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 
or 14A applies, falls to Item 12.  The effect of this amendment is to include firearms 
that do not fall under Item 14A of Part 2 of Schedule 6 to be included in Item 12 and 
therefore, the importation of these firearms must comply with the official purposes 
test, the specified purposes test, or the returned goods test.  The Principal Regulations 
were silent as to how firearms that are excluded from Item 14A were to be classified.  
The amendment clarified the classification of these articles. 
 
Item 19  
 
This item amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 14A, column 2, paragraph (b) of the 
Principal Regulations to substitute it to provide the exception of firearms that are 
 
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FOI Document #2
 
substantially the same in appearance as fully automatic firearms.  This ensures that the 
paintball markers listed in Column 2 in Item 14A of Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the 
Principal Regulations, regardless of their colour, that are substantially the same in 
appearance as fully automatic firearms be classified under Item 12 of Part 2 of 
Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  Therefore the importation of these paintball 
markers requires compliance with the official purposes test, the specified purposes 
test, or the returned goods test.  By replacing the phrase ‘resembles in appearance’ 
with ‘is substantially the same in appearance as’ the amendment ensures consistency 
in phrasing within Schedule 6 of the Principal Regulations.  The phrase ‘fully 
automatic firearms’ also encapsulates the previous words of ‘a sub-machine gun, an 
assault rifle, a machine gun, a machine pistol or a handgun that has a fully automatic 
firing capability’.   
 
  
Item 20  
This Item amended Schedule 6 of Part 2, Item 15, column 2 of the Principal 
Regulations to include magazines for fully automatic firearms.  The proposed 
amendment results in Item 15 of the Principal Regulations capturing detachable 
magazines having a capacity of more than five rounds for self-loading centre fire 
rifles, self-loading shotguns, pump-action shotguns, and fully automatic firearms.  
This amendment includes the phrase ‘fully automatic firearms’ as a new category in 
Item 15 to ensure that magazines for fully automatic firearms are subject to the more 
appropriate tests of Item 15. 
This Item corrects a previous drafting error. 
 
Item 22  
 
This Item amended Schedule 6 of Part 3, Item 3 of the Principal Regulations to 
include sub item 3.5 - articles imported for temporary exhibit at a museum.  Sub item 
3.5 articulates the conditions that must be met when an article is imported, for the 
purposes of exhibition, under the official purposes test. 
 
 
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FOI Document #3
 
 
 
 
NOTICE OF RECENT AMENDMENTS 
  
Schedule 6 - Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 
 
On 16 December 2008, regulations amending the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 took effect. The 
effects of the amendments are outlined below.   
Military-style firearms 
 
                        
A manual long arm that is substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm is subject to the same 
import controls as fully automatic firearms (Item 12, Part 2 of Schedule 6).  A decision that a firearm is substantially 
the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm requires comparison between the particular firearm that is to be 
imported and a fully automatic firearm in existence.  Almost all States and Territories have legislation that 
effectively restricts access to manual long arms that resemble fully automatic firearms.   
 
The amendment is designed to achieve greater harmonisation between Commonwealth, State and Territory 
legislation and provide greater certainty about controls on military-style firearms. 
 
Magazines for fully automatic firearms  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
       
Detachable firearm magazines with a capacity of more than five rounds for fully automatic firearms are now 
classified under Item 15, Part 2 of Schedule 6.   
 
Temporary import by government for display at museums 
An article may be imported under the official purposes test for exhibition at a museum by the government of the 
Commonwealth, a State or a Territory, and be owned by any person.  The amendment allows for articles or 
collections owned by a foreign government or individuals to be temporarily imported for display in a museum by an 
Australian government. 
 
Licensing and authorisation under State and Territory law 
Importers must demonstrate that they are appropriately licensed or authorised as required in the relevant State or 
Territory, for their intended use of the article.  For example, if the importer is importing the article with the intention 
of selling the article to government, then the importer must hold a licence that permits the sale, or not be required to 
hold a licence for the sale – meaning they are otherwise authorised.  Essentially, an importer needs to meet any 
relevant licensing or authorisation required by the State or Territory that relates to the purpose of import.  A licence 
does not need to specifically mention the activity concerned, but rather the activity simply needs to be permitted in 
accordance with a licence or authorisation. 
The amendment provides for greater harmonisation of Commonwealth, State and Territory provisions, and also 
supports the licensing requirements of the States and Territories by making them part of the import process. 
 
More Information 
The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Amendment Regulations 2008 contain the details of the above amendments and 
can be found at www.comlaw.gov.au.   
 
If, as a result of these amendments, you are unsure about the importation requirements that apply to a particular 
firearms article, please contact the Attorney-General’s Department at <[email address]>.  The Department will 
arrange for classification of articles and provide advice on import requirements. 
 
 





FOI Document #5
For-Official-Use-Only 
s. 22(1)(a)(ii)
2.  Firearms Identification and Safety Testing Officer (FSTO) 
2.1 Role and Function 
2.1.1  An FSTO is primarily responsible for: 
  the safety testing of firearms; 
  identifying and classifying firearms and related goods in their region 
2.1.2  Trained FSTO’s are required to formal y identify firearms and their parts and 
accessories in their Region in order to ensure that ACBPS treats al  firearms 
correctly under the Regulations.  FSTO’s fol ow a set procedure and use 
specialised equipment to safety test firearms that are required to be safety 
tested under the Regulations. 
2.1.3  Al  firearms, parts, accessories, magazines, imitation firearms or articles 
suspected as such MUST be examined by an FSTO prior to release.  The 
FSTO wil  confirm the relevant Item number that applies to the article from 
Part 2, Schedule 6 of the Regulations. 
2.1.4  An authorised FSTO can issue classification over the phone, via email with or 
without use of pictures, or fol owing physical examination of the articles.  If 
physical inspection is carried out the results are to be recorded on an 
Identification and Safety Testing Results Form signed by the FSTO.   
2.1.5  It is up to the FSTO to decide based on the nature of the articles which 
inspection method wil  be required to identify the articles correctly.  When 
transferring firearms or related articles to FSTO’s, officers need to be mindful 
of the transport requirements discussed in chapter 3 of the Custodial Firearms 
Policy Instruction and Guidelines

2.2 Training and Qualification 
2.2.1  To qualify as an FSTO, an ACBPS officer is assessed against the unit of 
competence PSPBORD408A Examine and test firearms by an FSTO 
Assessor. 
2.2.2  As part of that assessment, the officer wil  undergo the fol owing phases: 
  Preparation phase 
  Classroom theory and practical phase 
  Assessment phase 
s. 22(1)(a)(ii)


FOI Document #5
For-Official-Use-Only 
2.2.3  At the successful completion of the course the FSTO Assessor wil  send al  
relevant paperwork (while maintaining a local copy) to the FSTO Coordinator 
in Canberra and record into COMPASS the course completion.  Where 
necessary this may be entered by the FSTO Coordinator. 
2.3 Re-certification 
2.3.1  Current ACBPS Policy is that the FSTO undergoes the assessment process 
at least once every two (2) years – this ensures that the officer is stil  
competent in the safety testing and identification of firearms and is aware of 
any recent legislative or technological changes. 
s. 22(1)(a)(ii)