Clearance and inspection of goods

​​Cargo arriving in Australia can often be cleared by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment 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

To request an appointment for an import inspection, complete the request for inspection form and email it to the department in the location where the cargo is being held:

To book an inspection in Tasmania contact +61 3 6165 3777

Break bulk - a biosecurity officer must receive notification prior to discharge of break bulk cargo.

Arrangements with the department

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 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 undertake​n 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.

Last reviewed: 7 September 2020
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