Australian Customs Service

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Australian Customs Service
Agency overview
Formed1 July 1985[1]
Preceding Agency
Dissolved22 May 2009
Superseding agency
TypeStatutory authority
JurisdictionGovernment of Australia
HeadquartersCustoms House
35°17′1″S 149°7′55″E / 35.28361°S 149.13194°E / -35.28361; 149.13194
Employees6,284 (in April 2008)[2]
Minister responsible
  • Minister for Justice and Customs
  • Minister for Home Affairs
Agency executives
, Comptroller‑General (1985–1988)

The Australian Customs Service was an Australian Government agency responsible for Australian border protection, duties and taxes between 1985 and 2009. The Service was first under the portfolio of the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce from 1985 to 1998 and then the Attorney-General's Department from 1998 to 2009.[3]

In 1998, the collection of Excise duties was transferred to the Australian Taxation Office. The Service was dismantled in 2009 and replaced with the newly augmented, retasked and renamed Australian Customs and Border Protection Service which moved from AGD to the newly established Department of Immigration and Border Protection in September 2013.


The Australian Customs Service was created as an independent authority by the Hawke Government in 1985 under the Commonwealth Customs Administration Act 1985 after operating as a departmental entity from 1982 to 1985 within the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce and as the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Bureau of Customs from 1975 to 1982.[4][5]

In December 2008 then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that the Australian Government would be augmenting, re-tasking and renaming the Australian Customs Service to create the new Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.[6] Royal assent was given to the changes on 22 May 2009 and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service was established.[4]

Role and functions

The role of the Australian Customs Service was to prevent the illegal movement of people and harmful goods across Australia's border, and to apply trade measures and collect border-related duties and taxes.[7]


Customs was an Australian Public Service agency, staffed by officials who were responsible to the agency's Minister. The responsible minister was the Minister for Home Affairs from 2007 to 2009, the Minister for Justice and Customs from 1998 to 2007, and the Attorney-General of Australia between 1998 and 2007.[citation needed]

Between 1 January 2006 and 22 May 2009, the Chief Executive Officer of the agency was Michael Carmody. Lionel Woodward was Chief Executive Officer between 1994 and 2005.[8] Frank Kelly was Comptroller-General of Customs (and head of the agency) between 1988 and 1994.[9] Prior to Kelly, Tom Hayes headed the agency from its establishment to 1988.[10]


  1. ^ CA 4416: Australian Customs Service, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 17 February 2015
  2. ^ Australian Public Service Commission (2008), State of the Service 2007–08 (PDF), Australian Government, p. 305
  3. ^ From Federation to the Australian Border Force
  4. ^ a b CA 9259: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 17 February 2015
  5. ^ "Customs service". The Canberra Times. 22 May 1985. p. 14.
  6. ^ Rudd, Kevin (4 December 2008), The First National Security Statement to the Parliament Address by the Prime Minister of Australia The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, archived from the original on 30 December 2013
  7. ^ Australian Customs Service (2008), Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2007–08 (PDF), Australian Government, p. 2
  8. ^ "Carmody moves from Taxation to Customs". PS News. 25 November 2005. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  9. ^ Hobbs, Philip (9 September 1988). "A career officer is appointed new head of customs". The Canberra Times. p. 12.
  10. ^ "Head of reorganised department". The Canberra Times. 28 August 1985. p. 24.