Obligations and conditions
The Department issues licences subject to a number of mandatory obligations specified in the
Customs Act 1901 (the Customs Act), and the Comptroller-General of Customs or their delegate may impose other obligations or conditions.
Standard licence conditions which apply to customs broker licences
These are some of the circumstances where there is a requirement to notify the Comptroller General within 30 days of occurence:
- Where the licence holder, or persons participating in the work of a customs broker, have been refused an aviation or maritime security identification card (ASIC or MSIC) or had an ASIC or MSIC suspended or cancelled.
- In the case of a licence held by a company, if a receiver of the property or part of the property is appointed; or if an administrator is appointed under the Corporations Act; if the company executes a deed of company arrangement under the Corporations Act; or if the company begins to be wound up.
- If, in the case of a natural person, they become bankrupt.
- In the case of a licence held by a partnership, a change of membership in partnership.
- If a person not described in the application for the licence as participating in the work of the customs broker commences so as to participate.
- If a nominee of the customs broker dies or ceases to act as nominee of the customs broker.
Summary of the standard conditions applied to Customs brokers' licences
- The licence holder must do all things necessary to ensure that persons that participate in the work of the customs broker are
fit and proper persons.
- A nominee broker must not act in his or her own right at any time while he or she is a nominee of a customs broker.
Additional broker licence conditions
The Comptroller General of Customs may, at any time, impose additional conditions for:
- the protection of the revenue; or
- the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Customs Acts, any other law of the Commonwealth prescribed by the regulations or a law of a State or Territory prescribed by the regulations; or
- any other purpose.
The Comptroller General of Customs must notify the licence holder of the conditions and the conditions take effect either at the end of 30 days after the notification, or earlier if this is specified in the notice.
Additional licence conditions include:
- The holder of a customs broker licence must, when requested by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department), complete and forward the required documentation to allow the Department to undertake a fit and proper person check on the licence holder.
- In the case of a customs broker licence held by a company; if there is a change in the director, officer, shareholder or member of the company the holder of the licence must, within 30 days after the occurrence of the event, notify the Comptroller-General of Customs of that event.
- A director, officer, shareholder or member of a licensed company must, when requested by the Department, complete and forward the required documentation to allow the Department to undertake a fit and proper person check on that person.
- If a holder of a customs broker licence becomes aware that information that has been provided to the Department is false, misleading or incomplete, the customs broker must, as soon as practicable after becoming aware provide written particulars of the incident to the Comptroller-General of Customs.
- The holder of a customs broker licence must not allow Departmental systems, or information provided by the Department, to be used for an unauthorised purpose or to assist, aid, facilitate or participate in any unlawful or illegal activity.
- A natural person who holds a customs broker licence must undertake accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as per the following requirements:
- For the purposes of this condition, accredited CPD activities are the activities accredited by the Comptroller-General of Customs or by a CPD provider that has been granted Accredited CPD Provider status by the Department. A customs broker must complete sufficient accredited CPD activities, as detailed on the Australian Border Force (ABF) website, to acquire the minimum number of points each CPD year, which commences on 1 April each year and ends 31 March the following year.
- The holder of the customs broker licence must keep accurate, auditable, written records of completion of accredited CPD activities and provide them upon request to the Comptroller-General of Customs.
- The holder of the customs broker licence must notify the Comptroller-General of Customs if the holder of the customs broker licence has failed to complete the required number of points and provide a written explanation of the circumstances surrounding the failure prior to the end of the CPD year.
- The holder of a customs broker licence must not lodge import declarations from outside Australia.
- The holder of a corporate customs broker licence must maintain suitable professional indemnity insurance for the protection of their clients and the Commonwealth. The licence holder must forward evidence of insurance to the Comptroller-General of Customs if requested.
- The Department of Home Affairs contains the entirety of the Australian Border Force (ABF).
- Pursuant to section 183B, a person 'participates in the work of a customs broker' if:
- he or she has authority as a nominee of, or as an agent, officer or employee of, the customs broker, to do any act or thing for the purposes of the Customs Acts on behalf of an owner of goods; or
- he or she has authority to direct a person who has authority referred to in paragraph (a) in the exercise of that authority.
- For the purpose of additional condition 1 and 3 the required documentation includes: providing proof of identity in accordance with the Departments proof of identity requirements; completing a personal information form and a privacy notice and general consent form.
- For the purpose of additional condition 6 a natural person is a nominee customs broker or a sole trader customs broker.
- Where a licence condition states that information is to be provided to the Comptroller-General of Customs, the information is to be provided to the Broker Licensing team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the information to be provided is in relation to additional licence condition 4 this will need to be provided to Border Watch as specified on the ABF website.
How to Comply
Notifications to the Comptroller-General of Customs for customs broker licences can be sent to the Broker Licensing section.
A failure to notify the Comptroller-General of Customs within the timeframe is a breach of a condition of a customs broker licence.
What happens if licence holders do not comply
Failure to meet any condition(s) of a customs broker licence is very serious and constitutes a breach of the Customs Act.
Failure to meet the requirement for Continuing Professional Development may result in a customs brokers licence not being renewed.
For customs brokers, matters may be referred to the
National Customs Brokers Licensing Advisory Committee (NCBLAC) for investigation and a recommendation to the delegate as to further action to be taken, which may include a reprimand, suspension or cancellation of the licence.
In addition to a breach of a licence condition, other matters may also be referred to NCBLAC to investigate for example:
- the customs broker has ceased to perform the duties of a customs broker in a satisfactory and responsible manner, for example, the documents prepared by the customs broker for the purposes of the Customs Act contain errors that are unreasonable having regard to the nature or frequency of those errors, or
- the customs broker is guilty of conduct that is an abuse of the rights and privileges arising from his or her licence, or
- a customs broker licence charge payable in respect of the licence remains unpaid more than 28 days after the day the charge was due to be paid, or
- the customs broker made a false or misleading statement in the application for the licence.