Opinion Number. 43

Subject

CUSTOMS WHETHER DETENTION AND SALE OF GOODS BY STATE HARBOUR BOARD INTERFERES WITH CONTROL

Author
Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION, ss. 52 (ii), 69, 86, 90 : CUSTOMS ACT 1901, s. 33

Date
Client
The Minister for Trade and Customs

A Bill has been introduced into the Legislative Assembly of Queensland to constitute a Harbour Board for the Harbour of Brisbane.

The Bill provides that in case the harbour dues are not paid in respect of goods the Chairman may detain them and after seven days from the discharging of the goods remove them to a King's warehouse and that if the dues and charges remain unpaid for three months or such longer time as the Board may allow the goods may be sold and the proceeds applied first in payment of customs duties, then in payment of harbour dues, charges for removal, warehouse rent, and freight in the order named.

It also provides by clause 17 that the owner master or agent of the ship shall pay the harbour dues at the request of the Chairman and shall have a lien on the goods to the amount and that if the amount is not paid the goods may be sold and the proceeds applied as under the previous section.

The Minister for Trade and Customs forwards the Bill for my opinion with the following minute:

I take it that the Customs Regulations of the Commonwealth cannot be affected by this proposed legislation. Does the Honourable the Attorney-General see any necessity for any action say in the way of calling attention to our Act or otherwise?

I am of opinion:

  1. That the Bill purports to affect Customs legislation of the Commonwealth, which a State is not competent to do.
  2. That it would be advisable to ask the Prime Minister to point out to the Queensland Government that the control of the Customs over imported goods cannotbe interfered with by State legislation; and also that the control of the existing 'King's warehouses' has passed to the Commonwealth.

[Vol. 1, p. 304]