Working with the import cargo and shipping industry

​​​​​​What is biosecu​rity?

Biosecurity protects Australia’s plant, animal and human health by reducing the risk of unwanted pests and diseases arriving and establishing in the country. We need to balance the need to manage biosecurity risk with the responsibility to facilitate trade and the movement of people and goods to, from and within Australia.

Working with in​dustry

The department is continuing to improve the way we engage and consult with industry to address needs across the cargo and shipping industry sectors. You may notice a number of changes taking place.

The ​Cargo Consultative Committee will continue to provide advice on national strategic issues. The aim of the committee is to work together to deliver effective biosecurity outcomes without impeding trade. A network of key biosecurity managers has also been established to coordinate and improve engagement with stakeholders. Local issues will be responded to more quickly with national support where needed. Department biosecurity officers will identify and address issues quickly by learning more about your business and how the department's processes will impact you.

Benefits to indu​​​stry​

A risk-based approach provides significant benefits to industry. The potential for reduced intervention based on good compliance means reduced audit rates and inspections for shipping vessels and air and sea containers.

Risk based interve​ntion

We are working to ensure that resources and efforts are deployed to the highest risk areas – to the things that matter most. This risk based approach includes working in partnership with industry to achieve integrated risk management offshore, onshore and at the border. Risk assessments are based on robust and contemporary science and consider a broad range of risk factors – the goods themselves, the pathway into Australia and the stakeholders involved in importing these goods. This allows appropriate recognition and reward for good biosecurity compliance, such as reduced intervention.

What​​’s next?

Further changes will be taking place incrementally and collaboratively as we continue to deliver Australia’s world-class biosecurity system. We will keep you informed of planned improvements including: documentation reforms and the development of electronic government to government certification implementation of BICON – Biosecurity Import Conditions, a more efficient and effective import permit system, and modern legislation creating a simpler and more user friendly legislative framework.

Mor​e information

The department provides important information via regular import clearance industry advice notices. Subscribe to receive these updates.


If you would like to provide feedback or discuss any issues with us please conta​c​t ​your local office.

Adelaide (South West)
Phone: +61 8 8201 6000

Brisbane (North East)
Phone: +61 7 3246 8755

Canberra (Central Office)
Phone: +61 2 6272 3933

Darwin (Northern)
Phone: +61 8 8920 7000

Melbourne (South East)
Phone: +61 3 8318 6700

Perth (South West)
Phone: +61 8 9334 1555

Sydney (Central East)
Phone: +61 2 8334 7444

General inquiries – 1800 020 504

To confidentially report a suspected biosecurity breach call the Biosecurity Redline on:
1800 803 006

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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