The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment (DAWE) is the federal body responsible for enforcing Australia’s quarantine of goods regulations, including issuing permits and inspecting shipments.
Australia is a signatory to the WTO “Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures.” U.S. exporters, however, may find it difficult to comply with Australia’s import quarantine requirements. Aside from issues relating to the importation of fresh food and animals, Australia’s quarantine measures cover other imported products such as farm, mining and construction machinery, some packaged foods, and other products that may pose a contamination risk to Australia’s agricultural industry or natural environment. There may also be seasonal biosecurity measures in place by the Australian government, such as those used to contain the spread of brown marmorated stink bugs, that a wide range of U.S. exporters will need to comply with.
The Australian government enforces its quarantine measures very seriously. Importers have little recourse once a shipment encounters quarantine issues.
Machinery imports may require an import permit – especially used machinery. It is a condition of the entry that motor vehicles, motorcycles, machinery (or their parts) or tires are clean and free of contamination of biosecurity concern (internally and externally) before they arrive in Australia. Contamination of biosecurity concern includes, but is not limited to: live insects, seeds, soil, mud, clay, animal feces, animal material and plant material such as straw, twigs, leaves, roots, bark. For quarantine purposes, new field-tested equipment is classified as ‘used machinery,’ and will require an Import Permit. The Department has the power to re-export contaminated machinery. More detailed information relating to the import of machinery can be found at DAWEs website.
Packaging of imported goods can present a challenge to U.S. exporters, particularly where the packing materials include wood or other natural products. Detailed information on the compliance requirements can be found at DAWE’s web page on packaging.
For complete information on products that need to comply with Australia’s quarantine regulations, U.S. exporters should check the requirements on the Department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) database.