Biosecurity legislation and the Australian territory

Vessels entering Australian territory must comply with their requirements under biosecurity legislation.

Australian legislative requirements

The jurisdiction of Australia and external territories generally extends off the Australian coast to 12 Nautical Miles (NM).

All international vessels, including barges and dredges, that are sailed, motored or towed through the 12NM limit and enter Australian territory are subject to pre-arrival reporting, pratique, assessment and inspection at a first point of entry on arrival.

Australian territory

You will need to meet our biosecurity requirements (under the Biosecurity Act) if you visit:

  • Australia
  • Christmas Island
  • the Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • any external territory such as Norfolk Island
  • the airspace and the coastal sea of these areas which generally extends to 12 NM (approx 25kms).

Refer to Pre-arrival reporting requirements for certain Australian External Territories.

The territories (below) are collectively referred to as Australian External Territories (AET).

  • Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island
  • Coral Sea Islands (Willis Island)
  • Macdonald and Heard Island
  • the Australian Antarctic territory.

These territories are not part of Australian territory under the Act and are managed by other Australian Government Agencies.

Check to see if you need to meet requirements with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Last reviewed: 5 March 2021
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