Import proposals

​An import proposal is a generic term used to describe a proposal made to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to bring plants, animals or other goods into Australia in circumstances where import conditions have not been established.

Who can provide an import proposal?

An import proposal may be provided to the department by government authorities of an exporting country, or when people or organisations (the proposer) want to import goods (plants, animals and other goods). They also include requests from Australian industries for access to new imported genetic materials or establishment of new protocols for imports for processing.

The department may consult with the proposer, where required, to confirm the scope of the market access request and to ensure that any required information has been provided to support their request. The department considers the type of risk analysis that is required and whether the criteria for conducting a Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis (BIRA) have been met.

Requirements for import proposals

While there is no standard form for import proposals, they must be in writing and include relevant scientific and other information to the extent that it is available. This information may be provided by the person or agency proposing the import (the proposer), the national Competent Authority of the exporting country, or may be available to the department through scientific literature or other sources. The required information may include, but is not limited to, distribution records of pests associated with particular plants, or information on the incidence of animal diseases or treatments used on the goods. A proposal will not be considered valid until relevant information is available to the department.

The following information about the proposed import must be provided:

  • scientific name (including order, suborder, genus, species, subspecies and variety, where applicable)
  • common name(s), where applicable
  • country(ies), zone(s), state(s), region(s), province(s), district(s) of origin, where applicable.

In some cases, applicants may be required to supply additional information concerning the good to be imported before an import proposal can be considered valid. Additional information that may be required includes production and processing methods.

Proposals to import plants or plant goods may also require more specific information, including:

  • pest and disease information
  • plant pest(s) of interest
  • scientific names of plant pests, including authors
  • classification of plant pests (such as order and family)
  • export destinations/existing protocols
  • production area in country of origin
  • cultivation methods
  • pest management and general surveillance programs
  • sourcing goods from pest-free zones and/or other existing relevant phytosanitary measures
  • harvesting methods and post-harvesting activities
  • internal legislative restrictions (pest-free areas) or other domestic legislation
  • synonyms commonly used
  • hosts (including variety if relevant)
  • plant parts attacked
  • symptoms/damage
  • distribution (within country)
  • prevalence (common, occasional or rare)​.

The department will determine when there is sufficient information to proceed with a risk analysis. If the required information is not available, special surveys and monitoring may be needed. Without all relevant information, a risk analysis will not be considered for the department’s active work program.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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