Tablet Press Import Control

DoHA issues a discussion paper regarding the import control on the illicit drug market, and whether that control should be broadened to include encapsulators.

The Department of Home Affairs has developed a discussion paper on the import control of tablet presses under regulation 4G of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Members of the public, industry, academia, law enforcement and government departments and agencies are invited to make submissions to this discussion paper.

The discussion paper poses questions about the impact of the import control on the illicit drug market and whether the import control should be broadened to include encapsulators and incomplete machines. Regulation 4G of the Prohibited Imports Regulations was introduced ten years ago with the intention to prohibit the import of tablet presses unless permission had been granted by the Minister for Home Affairs (or a person authorised by the Minister).

The rationale behind the import control was linked to concerns about the increased usage and domestic production of amphetamine-type stimulants such as MDMA (ecstasy) in tablet form.

The import control provides the Australian Border Force (ABF) the power to seize tablet presses that are imported into Australia without permission, and also to prosecute persons caught importing tablet presses without permission. Under the Customs Act 1901, where a court can determine the value of the goods, the offence associated with importing a tablet press without permission is a penalty not exceeding the greater of either 3 times the value of the goods or 1,000 penalty units4. If a court cannot determine the value of the goods, then a penalty not exceeding 1,000 penalty units may be applied.

Submissions made to the discussion paper will assist the Department of Home Affairs make recommendations to the Government on the administration of the import control. The Department of Home Affairs requests that submissions be made in either Word or PDF format and emailed to To download a PDF copy of the discussion paper (442KB PDF), click HERE.

Submissions will close on 29 March 2019.

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