Notice to Industry 16: First point of entry standards for the arrival of horses into Australian seaports


The purpose of this document is to communicate the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s (DAWE’s) minimum requirements for the import of horses by sea vessel at Australian first points of entry under the biosecurity standards of the Biosecurity Act 2015


DAWE manages biosecurity risks associated with the arrival of international vessels, people and goods into seaports, including regulating where vessels can moor when they enter Australia. Vessels must arrive at a designated first point of entry (FPoE) that allows DAWE biosecurity officers to effectively manage biosecurity risks within port operations.

The department sets out the standards and requirements for designated FPoE ports, under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

A full copy of the first point of entry biosecurity standards (ports) is located at:

Australian FPoE biosecurity standards (ports) for horses, donkeys and mules

Approval of an arrival port as an FPoE for live horses is dependent on whether it contains the necessary facilities required by the standards and the below listed minimum requirements. Ports without ongoing approval for live horses may be temporarily approved by the delegated biosecurity officer if the importer has provided a management plan and any additional equipment e.g. lighting, temporary fencing that meets the minimum requirements.

A list of Australia’s FPoE ports is located at the following link:

Please note: The above list is all approved FPoE ports for vessels, some of which may not have specific approval as an FPoE port for live animals.

The FPoE biosecurity standards (ports) for horses, donkeys and mules are as follows:

Table 7 Live animal standard


Evidence Responsibility
1 Live animals (general) – waste management Approved biosecurity waste receptacle serviced by a department-approved waste management provider, to be made available for disposal of waste goods subject to biosecurity control. Berth operator
2 Live animals (general) – exposure Impervious hardstanda for containment of live animals if required, isolated from general operations either through fencing or location. Berth owner
1) Process to facilitate immediate cleaning, disinfection, containment or treatment of areas, vessels (or other conveyances) or goods that may have been exposed to the animal, according to the directions of a biosecurity officer through provision of:
- ready and adequate supply of water with appropriate water pressure
- disinfecting agents and cleaning equipment to be used as directed by a biosecurity officer.
2) Timely access for approved treatment providers who can perform decontamination and treatment.
Berth operator
3 Live animals (general) – containment Procedure for containment of an escaped animal Berth operator
4 Live horsesc – from designated low-risk countries, low volume/frequency Provision of a holding area, separate from other operations and with:
• hardstand surface
• fencing or barriers to create a secure area (temporary or permanent)
• access for horse transport, allowing manoeuvre without bogging
• adequate lighting to facilitate clearance at night (may be transportable but must be onsite and available for use). Multiple light sources should be used to reduce shadow and glare.
Berth owner/operator

a. Hardstand does not need to be permanently designated for this purpose. 
c. Berth operators who import live horses from countries other than those designated as low risk or in higher volume/frequency will have to meet additional conditions determined by the department.

Minimum requirements for a port to clear live horses imported by sea vessel from low-risk countries with low volume/frequency

  1. A hardstand surface able to be effectively cleaned and disinfected.
  2. A suitable corral to contain and isolate the animals from general port operations. This requires either permanent or temporary barriers. A temporary secure area may include the use of temporary fencing, the horse transport vehicles or a combination of both, and must be approved by the regional biosecurity officers attending the clearance. 
  3. The corral’s secure area must allow personnel to complete their duties according to work, health and safety standards and satisfy animal welfare considerations for the horses. The corral must allow personnel to move to a safe area in dangerous situations.
  4. The corral area must have adequate space to manoeuvre the transport vehicle and allow unloading/reloading of horses.
  5. There must be appropriate lighting available for biosecurity officers to properly identify and examine horses in the event the clearance occurs at night. 
  6. There must be a procedure in place to manage both biosecurity and work, health and safety risks in the event of an animal escaping during the clearance process. 
  7. Costs associated with the provision of temporary fencing or any other equipment to achieve a suitable corral is the responsibility of the importer.
Last reviewed: 15 April 2020
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.