Changes for importers of plant, animal and biological goods

120-2017 – Changes to Import Conditions to take effect 21 December 2017

​Who does this notice affect?

This notice applies to importers of plant, animal and biological goods and customs brokers, including imports into Australia’s external territories (Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island).

Importers are advised the Goods Determinations under subsection 174(1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 are currently being amended. This is to ensure that the alternative conditions for specified goods provide the Appropriate Level of Protection for Australia, by managing biosecurity risks associated with those goods, while ensuring a reduced regulatory burden for importers of those goods, where appropriate. As a result, from 21 December 2017 certain commodities will have different import conditions. If you intend to import goods into Australia and its territories you must comply with the new legislation and read this notice.

The majority of changes will apply from 21 December 2017. The exception is new alternative conditions that will apply to fresh cut flowers and foliage. They will not apply until 1 March 2018 to give businesses time to adjust their operations to meet new alternative condition requirements.

What is changing?

Commodities that will no longer require an import permit

Some goods can only be brought into Australia and its territories with an import permit. However, where it is safe to do so, importers are permitted to bring certain goods in without a permit if they meet alternative conditions for import. It is important to note that the updated conditions continue to manage the biosecurity risk associated with these goods, continue to meet Australia’s Appropriate Level of protection, and reduce the level of regulatory burden for importers of these goods where appropriate.

From 21 December 2017 selected commodities will no longer require an import permit when alternative conditions in the Goods Determinations are met. These include:

  • All non-infected herbarium specimens
  • Cats and dogs from Norfolk Island
  • Cats and dogs to Norfolk Island from Australia and New Zealand
  • Canine semen from listed approved countries
  • Rabbits from New Zealand
  • Natural or cultured pearls
  • Untanned and partially processed game trophies, hides and skins from NZ
  • Biological materials for cosmetic purposes
  • Pet fish food
  • Marine molluscs (other than oysters and snails)
  • Green lipped mussel powder from New Zealand in commercially prepared and packaged veterinary therapeutics and human therapeutics
  • Neatsfoot oil, hyaluronic acid, spinosyn compounds, tallow derivatives and colloidal oatmeal in commercially prepared and packaged veterinary therapeutics, human therapeutics and cosmetics for animals
  • Natural casings derived from bovine, ovine, porcine or caprine animals from listed countries
  • The following species of dried medicinal mushrooms:
    • Boletus frondosus
    • Cordyceps spp.
    • Fomes fomentarius
    • Ganoderma lucidum
    • Grifola frondosa
    • Hericium erinaceus
    • Inonotus obliquus
    • Ophiocordyceps sinensis
    • Phellinus spp.
    • Polyporus umbellatus
    • Taiwanofungus camphoratus
    • Wolfiporia extensa
  • Slippery elm bark as an ingredient in food and herbal teas
  • Grape vine articles
  • Artificial plants on natural stems
  • Unprocessed cotton
  • Unprocessed straw articles and products
  • Banana fibre articles
  • Articles stuffed with herbs or seed
  • Oak barrels with chestnut bark hoops
  • The following plants as thatching grass:
    • Hyparrhenia spp. (excluding H. gazensis)
    • Imperata cylindrica
    • Miscanthus sinensis
    • Thamnocalamus spp.
    • Thamnochortus spp.

The Goods Determination will also be amended to include changes to the alternative conditions that must be met for the following goods:

  • Soil and goods containing soil
  • Water and goods containing water
  • Gelatine
  • Casein glue and gelatine glue
  • Catgut strings derived from animal intestines for use in musical instruments or sporting equipment
  • Catgut derived from animal intestines for commercial use
  • Animal trophies, artefacts and handicraft items
  • Bones, horns, antlers, tusks or teeth
  • Rawhide
  • Used horse equipment
  • Goods for veterinary therapeutic use
  • Cosmetics for animals
  • Amino acids
  • Enzymes
  • Starter cultures
  • Packets of dried milk products
  • Tinctures
  • Veterinary products containing lactose
  • Natural flavourings
  • Goods from Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands

All goods entering Australia must continue to meet the import conditions published in BICON.

Key changes for external territories
  • Norfolk Island
    • Stronger import conditions for maize seed and birdseed containing maize to reduce the biosecurity risk posed by boil smut and other pathogens and diseases
    • New alternative conditions for bringing cats and dogs onto Norfolk Island. If you meet these conditions, you will not need an import permit.
    • Updates to the conditions for importing potatoes, onions, garlic and ginger. These condition changes have resulted from an import condition review conducted by us, and negotiations with state and territory plant health certification authorities.
  • Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    • New alternative conditions for stockfeed, growing media and fertiliser imports.

If you meet these conditions, you will not need an import permit.

If you already have an import permit, it will not be affected.

BICON, the department’s biosecurity import conditions database, does not include information about imports into Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

For further information on the newly developed conditions for external territories, please see the External Territories page on the department’s website.