Section 20 Customs Act 1901 | Waterfront Area Control


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The Legislation

Section 20 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Waterfront Area Control and is extracted below.

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20 Waterfront area control

(1) A person who is in a waterfront area must, at the request of a Customs officer, produce appropriate identification for the officer’s inspection.

(2) If a person refuses or fails to produce appropriate identification to a Customs officer on request, the officer may, if he or she has reason to believe that the person is a member of the crew of an international ship, request the person to return to the ship forthwith to obtain that identification.

(3) If a member of the crew of an international ship refuses or fails to produce appropriate identification to a Customs officer, the master of the ship is taken, because of that refusal or failure, to have committed an offence against this Act.

Penalty: 10 penalty units.

(4) In any proceedings for an offence against subsection (3), it is a defence if the master of the ship establishes that he or she has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that crew members:

(a) have appropriate identification; and
(b) understand their obligation to carry their identification in a waterfront area and to produce it to Customs officers when requested to do so.

(5) If:

(a) a person refuses or fails to produce appropriate identification to a Customs officer on request; and
(b) the officer has no reason to believe that the person is a member of an international ship’s crew;
the officer may:
(c) if the person can otherwise establish his or her identity to the satisfaction of the officer and explain his or her presence in the waterfront area—issue the person with a temporary identification; or
(d) if the person is unable to establish his or her identity or to explain his or her presence in the waterfront area—request the person to leave the waterfront area forthwith.

(6) For the purposes of this section, a temporary identification issued under subsection (5) has effect, until that document expires, as if it were an appropriate identification.

(7) A person must not refuse or fail to comply with a request under subsection (2) or paragraph (5)(d).

Penalty: 5 penalty units.

(7A) Subsection (7) does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse.

(8) In this section:

appropriate identification means:

(a) if a person is a member of the crew of an international ship:

(i) current passport; or
(ii) a document issued by the shipping company having control of the ship concerned setting out the full name and nationality of the person and the passport number or other official identification number of the person; or
(iii) a document issued by, or by an instrumentality of, the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory providing photographic identification of the person and setting out the person’s full name, address, and date of birth; and

(b) if the person is not a member of the crew of such a ship—either:

(i) a document issued by the employer of the person providing photographic identification of the employee; or
(ii) a document issued by, or by an instrumentality of, the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory providing photographic identification of the person and setting out the person’s full name, address, and date of birth.

international ship means a ship that is currently engaged in making international voyages.

waterfront area means an area:

(a) that is:

(i) a port or wharf that is appointed, and the limits of which are fixed, under section 15; or
(ii) a boarding station that is appointed under section 15; and

(b) that is signposted so as to give persons present in the area a clear indication:

(i) that it is an area under Customs control; and
(ii) that they must not enter, or remain in, the area unless they carry appropriate identification; and
(iii) that they may be required to produce appropriate identification and, if they fail to do so, that they may be requested to leave the area.