External Territories

​​​Updates to import conditions

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is constantly reviewing and updating import conditions for the external territories. Proposed changes to prawn and prawn products import conditions are currently open for public comment. More information about the conditions is available on our webpage.

Import conditions for fresh solanaceous fruit and vegetables purchased in Western Australia and imported into the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT) of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands have been updated. These conditions are in place to reduce the likelihood of the spread of tomato-potato psyllid (TPP). More information about the conditions is available on our webpage.

​The Biosecurity Act 2015 is the primary legislation for the management of the risk of diseases and pests that may cause harm to human, animal or plant health, the environment and the economy. Its jurisdiction includes the management of the risk of diseases and pests to Australian territory including the external territories of Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands each have unique animal and plant health biosecurity statuses. Biosecurity arrangements on the territories are designed to maintain the unique biosecurity statuses of these territories. Biosecurity arrangements and responsibilities are set out in the Biosecurity Act 2015​ and subordinate legislation.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the movements of vessels, goods and people into and between these external territories, including from the Australian mainland are managed like international movements, rather than interstate movements. Therefore all vessels and aircrafts that arrive at the territories and all goods that are brought or imported into these external territoriesmust comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Bringing or importing goods to the external territories

Due to the unique pest and disease status of the external territories, each territory has its own goods determination which prescribes goods that are prohibited from being brought or imported into the external territories, and goods that may be brought or imported into the external territories subject to biosecurity conditions, including the requirement for an import permit. Import requirements are based on scientific evidence and government policy, ensuring the distinct biosecurity differences of each place are managed accordingly. All goods brought or imported into these territories are subject to biosecurity control.

Prior to bringing or importing goods into the external territories, refer to the relevant determination that provides the conditions for import, which are unique to each territory:

Please note that unless an exemption applies, or conditions are set out within the relevant determination, alternative conditions may apply. If you would like to import goods not covered in the determination, you will need to complete an Application for Permit form.

Aircraft and vessels arriving at the external territories

Under the Act, aircraft and vessels (including those from Australia) become subject to biosecurity control upon entering 12 nautical miles of the external territories. Likewise, all goods and conveyances from these external territories become subject to biosecurity control upon entering 12 nautical miles of Australia.

For more information, visit the aircraft and vessels webpage.

External territories covered by the Biosecurity Act

Map depicting the external Territories, the Australian mainland and the 12 Nautical Mile limit to which the Biosecurity Act applies.  

Biosecurity office contacts for external territories

If you would like to contact a biosecurity officer on Norfolk Island or the Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island or Cocos (Keeling) Islands), visit the department’s contacts webpage.

Further information

For more information on the territories, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities website.

Other useful websites include:

Last reviewed: 9 October 2020
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