Cargo arriving in Australia can often be cleared by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry using declarations and information provided by the importer. To decrease the likelihood that your goods will need to be opened and inspected, provide all required documents that need to accompany your goods.
The department will issue the importer with a directive that goods are released from biosecurity control or if any actions are required, e.g. inspection, treatment, isolation, hold pending further information or insect identification. For further information on the department’s approach to imported cargo, view the Imported Cargo Compliance factsheet.
Inspection of goods and containers may be required:
- on arrival at the seaport or airport of first entry
- at a third party site that has been approved by the department.
Fees generally apply to inspections performed by the department.
All break bulk or goods transported without a container, is inspected as it is unloaded from the transporting vessel.
International repositioned empty shipping containers are managed through Class 2.6 Empty shipping container parks.
Some goods will be randomly selected for inspection by the department, as part of the Cargo Compliance Verification Scheme. This verification is randomly applied to consignments that would not typically be directed for inspection. No inspection fees will apply to these consignments if the inspection confirms the consignment complies with biosecurity requirements.
Booking an inspection
The department has implemented the Biosecurity Portal that allows the Australian importing industry to conveniently book and manage inspection bookings in a self-serve online location at any time.
The following clients are able to lodge their import inspection booking requests via the Portal:
- Approved Arrangements
- Customs brokers
- Freight forwarders
- Individuals without an ABN.
It is highly recommended you commence using the Biosecurity Portal to make and manage booking requests. Please sign up for the now via Biosecurity Portal - DAFF (agriculture.gov.au).
*Clients requesting bookings for the following inspection types are not impacted and should continue to use the existing email-based system:
- Bulk bookings/manned depots (recurrent bookings only)
- High-volume specialist operators (HSVO) – personal effects inspections
- Imported food virtual visual label inspections
- Plant export inspections
- Requests submitted with an airway bill.
The department enters into arrangements for third parties to supply biosecurity services to importers of goods when they arrive in Australia.
Approved Arrangements include:
- Approved arrangements sites
- biosecurity waste management services
- Compliance agreements (cargo and containers).
Approved Arrangement sites are premises where post-entry biosecurity activities and treatments may be performed on goods, animals and plants. Approved Arrangements are categorised according to the type of commercial operations being undertaken and the various biosecurity activities that are authorised to take place at these facilities.
The department provides a list of onshore treatment providers.
Export or destruction
Goods that do not meet import requirements and cannot be treated are directed for export or disposal at the importer’s expense.
If the owner elects to dispose of goods and/or a conveyance, the Request for permission to dispose of goods/conveyance form must be completed.