The Australian Customs Service will formally recognise same-sex families in relation to duty-free concessions as a result of last year’s same-sex reforms.

According to current Customs regulations, families travelling together can pool concessions when bringing luxury items into the country.

Customs regulations previously defined family in gender-specific terms, resulting in same-sex families being excluded from the concession pool.

As of this month, by-laws in the Customs Tariff Act 1995 have been redefined to include same-sex families.

When people enter Australia, duties and taxes apply for bringing in certain goods such as perfume concentrates, furs, tobacco and alcohol.

Adults are allowed to bring in $900 worth of goods before incurring duty and taxes while children under 18 years are allowed a total of $450 (alcohol and tobacco are excluded).

If a group is travelling as a family, and one person exceeds the $900 goods limit, their partner or child can shoulder the remaining amount, provided they too remain under the $900 or $450 limit.

The change highlights the often hidden areas of discrimination against same-sex couples in Australian law, which last year’s reforms should now amend.

The change has not been well publicised. Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Corey Irlam said he is concerned changes in some areas of the law may be flying under the radar.

When they [the Government] make these changes they need to tell us about it rather than just updating it.

It’s vitally important -” 85 laws being changed is a fantastic step but there still remain thousands of places where the terms -˜man’, -˜woman’, -˜spouse’, -˜husband’ and -˜wife’ have been used.

It’s the role of government to find out where the discrimination sits and remove it.

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