The Biosecurity Act 2015 has recently been amended following the Biosecurity Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 receiving Royal Assent on 1 September 2018.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment administers the Biosecurity Act 2015, Export Control Act 1982, Imported Food Control Act 1992 and various other Acts in order to protect Australia's animal, plant and human health status and to maintain market access for Australian food and other agricultural exports.
If you import or export goods to/from Australia or are associated with the movements of vessels or aircraft to Australia you should be aware of your responsibilities under Australian law.
The Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act) commenced on 16 June 2016. It is co-administered by the Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Water Resources, and Health.
A strong biosecurity system helps protect our way of life from the threat of exotic pests and diseases to our unique environment, the economy, our health and our agricultural industries.
The risks posed by exotic pests and diseases are increasing due to growing international passenger and trade volumes, population expansion, the emergence of new pests and diseases and regional development.
The Biosecurity Act 2015 strengthens and modernises our biosecurity system, making sure it is up to the challenges of the future. All primary and subordinate biosecurity legislation can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation.Read more about how the Act is administered and its impact on specific industries and trade.
Primary legislation and regulations
The primary legislation that provides the legal powers for all of Australia’s biosecurity activities is the Biosecurity Act 2015.
There are two regulations made under the Act:
- The Biosecurity Regulations 2016 (administered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment); and
- The Biosecurity (Human Health) Regulations 2016 (administered by the Department of Health).
Biosecurity Goods Determinations
There are five Goods Determinations that provide additional detail on imports under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
- Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods) Determination 2016
- Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods – Torres Strait) Determination 2016
- Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods – Christmas Island) Determination 2016
- Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods – Cocos (Keeling) Islands) Determination 2016
- Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods – Norfolk Island) Determination 2016
Lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations
These lists provide extra clarification on the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. They should be read together for a full understanding of legislative requirements.
- Species of Dried or Preserved Cut Flowers and Foliage with Alternative Conditions for Import
- Permitted Seeds List
- Plant Fibres with Alternative Import Conditions
- Fresh Produce for Human Consumption with Alternative Conditions for Import
- Permitted Allium spp. Seeds
- Permitted Arecaceae (palm) Seeds
- Species of Mushrooms or Truffles to be Treated by Freezing with Alternative Conditions for Import
- Species of Mushrooms or Truffles to be Treated by Drying with Alternative Conditions for Import
- FMD-Free Country List
- Overseas Authorities – Aquatic Animals for Import
- List of Countries for Canine Semen
- List of Countries for Natural Casings Derived from Bovine, Caprine, Ovine or Porcine Animals
- List of Species of Medicinal Mushrooms or Fungi with Alternative Conditions for Import
- List of Fresh Produce for Human Consumption with Alternative Conditions (Norfolk Island)
- List of Species of Fresh Cut Flowers and Foliage with Alternative Conditions for Import – Mainland
- List of Species of Fresh Cut Flowers and Foliage with Alternative Conditions for Import – Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- List of Species of Fresh Cut Flowers and Foliage with Alternative Conditions for Import – Norfolk Island
- List of Biosecurity Preparedness Plans
- List of Goods That May Carry Hitchhiker Pests
- List of Hitchhiker Pests
- List of Hitchhiker Pest Host Countries or Regions
- List of Treatment Providers
Other lists related to import conditions
- Sheep Pox and Goat Pox-Free Country List
- List of species of mushrooms and truffles permitted for import into Norfolk Island from Australia
- LSD-Free Country List
- Countries Approved for Animal Fluids and Tissues
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Country list
- Pathogens of animal biosecurity concern for biological products
[Part 8 of the repealed Prescribed Goods (General) Orders 1985 is incorporated by reference into the Export Control (Prescribed Goods – General) Order 2005 by subsection 1.07(3) of that Order. To view the text of Part 8 see the supporting material for the Principal Order on the Federal Register or Legislative Instruments (FRLI).]
- Export Control (Orders) Regulations 1982
- Export Control (Animals) Order 2004
- Export Control (Animals) Amendment Order 2012 (No.1)
- Export Control (Eggs and Egg Products) Orders 2005
- Export Control (Fees) Orders 2001
- Export Control (Fish and Fish Products) Orders 2005
- Export Control (Meat and Meat Products) Orders 2005
- Export Control (Milk and Milk Products) Orders 2005
- Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders
- Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Order 2011
- Export Control (Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products) Orders 2010
- Export Control (Prescribed Goods - General) Order 2005
- Export Control (Rabbit and Ratite Meat) Orders 1985
- Export Control (Wild Game Meat and Wild Game Meat Products) Orders 2010
- Export Inspection and Meat Charges Collection Act 1985
- Export Inspection (Establishment Registration Charges) Act 1985
- Export Inspection (Quantity Charge) Act 1985
- Export Inspection (Service Charge) Act 1985
- Meat Export Charge Act 1984
- Meat Export Charge Collection Act 1984
- Meat Inspection Act 1983
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Conditions on Live-stock Export Licences) Order 2012
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export Licensing) Regulations 1998
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Regulations 1998
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export of Live-stock to Saudi Arabia) Order 2005
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Live Cattle Exports to Republic of Korea) Order 2002
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Standards) Order 2005
- Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export of Live-stock to Egypt) Order 2008
Imported food legislation
- Imported Food Control Act 1992
- Imported Food Control Regulations 1993
- Imported Food Control Order 2001
A review of the Imported Food Control Act 1992 was completed in 1998.
Changes to import conditions to take effect 25 July 2018
Australia’s biosecurity legislation allows us to adapt to changing biosecurity risk. From time to time, we update import requirements to strengthen controls on goods where risk has increased, and reduce controls where it is no longer necessary.
Some goods can only be brought into Australia and its territories with import permits. However, where it is safe to do so, we allow importers to bring certain goods in without a permit if they meet alternative conditions for import. This benefits everyone – it saves importers time and money in applying for permits, and is easier for us to administer.
The Biosecurity Goods Determinations specifies whether import permits, or alternative conditions for import must be met to bring particular goods into Australia. On 25 July 2018, a variety of updates will be made to the Biosecurity Goods Determinations to support changes in biosecurity risk. These updates in some cases include a new requirement for an import permit and/or alternative conditions, and in others the removal of this requirement.
In addition, there are amendments being made to some lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. Lists referenced in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations are published on the Biosecurity legislation webpage.
These changes apply from 25 July 2018.
Legislative and related document changes
The following goods will no longer require an import permit:
- Permitted medicinal mushrooms in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid, injectable vials, ointments, and as an ingredient in food or beverage including tea bags
- Additional species of seed for sowing
- All dried herb products not for human consumption
- Myrtaceous species of timber and timber products
- Returning Australian goods derived from animal and microbial products (excluding live animals) with intact original Australian Government container seals
- Sawdust and woodchips in the following scenarios
- Commercially packaged sawdust for alcohol production
- Commercially packaged wood wool
- Commercially packaged wood shavings
- Commercially packaged wood chips equal to or less than 25mm by 25mm by 25 mm
- Commercially packaged Sawdust and woodchips treated using departmental approved methods of heat, gamma or ETO treatments.
The following ingredients no longer require an import permit for use in veterinary therapeutics and cosmetics for animals:
- Cyclosporin manufactured without using materials of terrestrial animal or avian origin
- Diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) Dextran manufactured without using materials of terrestrial animal or avian origin
- Carminic Acid
The following goods will require and import permit:
- All non-commercially packaged consignments of sawdust and woodchips
Further details about import requirements and alternative conditions for import are available in the Biosecurity Goods Determinations. This information is also available in the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
Key changes for external territories
- The only amendments that apply to imports into Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are for imports of biological material for certain purposes (Cyclosporin, Diethylaminoethyl and Carminic acid).
BICON, the department’s biosecurity import conditions system, does not include information about imports into Australia’s external territories. For more information about the key changes for these external Territories, email External Territories.
The Biosecurity Goods Determinations covering imports into Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Torres Strait are available at Biosecurity legislation.