Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

Practice statements

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service exists to protect the safety, security and commercial interests of Australians through border protection designed to support legitimate trade and travel and ensure the collection of border revenue and trade statistics.

Customs and Border Protection performs this work under the guidance of a nationally consistent policy and procedure framework that ensures staff understand and perform their duties in a nationally consistent manner in line with legislation and the Chief Executive Officer’s direction.

The agency’s Practice Statement Framework (the Framework) outlines the governing arrangements for all policies and procedures. The Framework was developed with consideration of the Building Better Governance guidelines published by the Australian Public Service Commission, which provide practical guidance on public sector governance. The guidelines articulate that public sector governance covers ‘the set of responsibilities and practices, policies and procedures, exercised by an agency’s executive, to provide strategic direction, ensure objectives are achieved, manage risks and use resources responsibly and with accountability’.

The Practice Statement Framework

The Framework consists of three tiers:

  • Practice Statements / Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs)
  • Instruction and Guidelines
  • Associated Documents
Practice Statements

Practice Statements have the effect of being lawful and reasonable directions of the Chief Executive Officer of Customs and Border Protection. They are authoritative documents that articulate high-level policy for the agency and are supported by Instruction and Guidelines. They outline the:

  • legislative and common law decisions that Customs and Border Protection Officers must comply with
  • directions that all Customs and Border Protection Officers must abide by in the conduct of their duties, based on the policy that governs the activity, and, where relevant
  • rights, obligations and service standards that govern Customs and Border Protection’s external client interaction.
Chief Executive Instructions

Under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, Chief Executives of Commonwealth agencies are responsible for the management of Commonwealth resources. CEIs are the mechanism by which the CEO of Customs and Border Protection sets out internal financial policies to which all Customs and Border Protection Officers must adhere.

CEIs sit alongside Practice Statements as the agency’s financial management policy.

Instruction and Guidelines

Instruction and Guidelines are the process of ‘how to’ implement Practice Statements. They outline the general principles and procedures to assist in the implementation of the Practice Statements. The procedural information published as an Instruction and Guideline may include:

  • standard operating procedures and processes
  • boundaries and parameters
  • manuals
  • guidelines
  • assessments, and
  • plans.
Associated Documents

Associated Documents are materials that support the Practice Statement and Instruction and Guideline(s). They may include various types of information such as:

  • site specific procedures
  • procedural statements with a narrow span of application
  • technical procedures
  • forms
  • templates
  • checklists
  • guidance materials
  • quick reference guides
  • frequently asked questions, and/or
  • supporting documentation.


All Framework documents are categorised for the easy identification of its theme or subject matter. Categories include Corporate, Border and CEIs with sub-categories that narrow the theme or subject matter.

Corporate - are those Framework documents relating to the corporate governance arrangements of Customs and Border Protection. That is, documents relating to the activities that guide the strategic direction of the organisation, provide support to the Minister and the Executive, deliver enabling processes to work areas and protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff.

Border - are those Framework documents relating to Customs and Border Protection’s operations at the border. That is, any document that assists an officer in supporting the legitimate movement of goods or people across the border or those activities that aim to prevent illegal movements.

Chief Executive Instructions - Under the Framework, CEIs are published as a category of document. In combination with a series of supporting Instruction and Guidelines, CEIs address the full range of financial legislative requirements applicable to all business functions within Customs and Border Protection.

Freedom of Information Requirements

The objects of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are to give the Australian community access to information held by the Commonwealth Government by:

  • requiring agencies to publish information
  • providing for a right of access to documents

This right of access is subject to certain exemptions contained in Part IV of the FOI Act.

More information on Customs and Border Protection’s Freedom of Information requirements is available here.


To contact Customs and Border Protection's National Practice Statement Coordinator, email