Exporting plants and plant products

New export legislation

On 28 March 2021, Australia's export legislation changed.

Further information on what this means for plant exports can be found at New plant export legislation.

Australian exports and the economy

Agriculture makes an important contribution to the Australian economy. Around two-thirds of our farm, fish and forestry production—worth around $52 billion—is exported to more than 100 countries annually. Australia’s plant industries generate more than $12 billion in export revenue for the economy.

Why do we inspect products prior to export?

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment administers export laws to ensure that exported products meet all Australian and importing country requirements. This maintains the integrity of our exports, Australia’s positive relationships with trading partners and our reputation as a reliable exporter of safe and high-quality products.

Laws and regulations

The department regulates plant and plant product exports and the inspections of empty containers and vessels through the following legislation:

  • Export Control Act 2020
  • Export Control (Plants and Plant Product) Rules 2021

What plants and plant products do we export?

Australia exports a diverse range of plants and plant products to many importing countries. These include (but are not limited to) fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, plants, cut flowers, nuts, timber, hay and straw, raw baled cotton, logs, timber, seeds and grains.

Export inspection and certification

Plants or plant products prescribed (listed) under Australian export laws are controlled by the department and may require an export permit, inspection for compliance by an accredited Plant Export Authorised Officer (AO), and certification before they can be exported.

Prescribed products must also be packed, treated (if required) and inspected at an establishment registered with the department for the export of plants and plant products from Australia.

  • The following products are prescribed and regulated under Australian plant export law:
  • some grain and legumes (including barley, canola, chickpeas, dried field peas, faba beans, lentils, lupins, mung beans, oats, sorghum, soybeans, split vetch).
  • all fresh fruit
  • all fresh vegetables (including mushrooms and sprouts)
  • any other plants and plant products where an importing country requires a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate or any other official certificate (this may include nuts, fodder, timber products, nursery stock, tissue cultures, cotton; and other grains, seeds and legumes).

For more information about prescribed goods, please visit the department’s Exporting from Australia webpage.

Guide to exporting plants and plant products

To export plants and plant products, there are a few steps exporters will need to complete. For more information, please see the Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Fees and charges

The department provides export services to industry under cost recovery arrangements. Costs are recovered through fees and charges that are imposed for the complete range of plant export inspection and certification activities.

This includes time spent on preparation and completion of export inspections, audits, treatment monitoring and registrations, and the issuance of all export documentation. In some cases costs are also recovered by means of a quantity charge per tonne.

For full details, see the department’s charging guidelines.

Service charter

The department’s Client Service Charter and Service Standards outline our commitment to our clients. They describe our service responsibilities and the standard of service you can expect from our staff. We strive to provide and maintain a high level of service by stating necessary lead times for the functions related to export inspection and certification.

Keeping up-to-date

The department issues Industry Advice Notices (IANs) to inform exporters of changes and updates affecting the export of plants and plant products.

You can register to automatically receive IANs relevant to your business, or you can check the Industry Advice Notices webpage for updates.

Last reviewed: 27 March 2021
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