Notice to Industry 8: Horse Importer responsibilities - New Zealand and New Caledonia

​​Introduction

The purpose of this document is for importing agents and their staff and contractors involved with the import of horses from New Zealand and New Caledonia to be aware of their responsibilities and their obligation to comply with these requirements.

This document is provided for information only. To the extent that this document is inconsistent with any import permit, direction or authorisation, the terms and conditions of the import permit, direction or authorisation take precedence and will apply. Failure to comply with a condition of an import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation may constitute an offence. 

Background

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) is responsible for regulating the import of horses and has developed conditions that manage the associated biosecurity risks. New Zealand and New Caledonia are free from many of the equine diseases of biosecurity concern to Australia, including equine influenza (EI), so horses imported from these two countries do not need to complete post-arrival quarantine (PAQ) following arrival into Australia

The Biosecurity Act 2015 provides biosecurity officers with the authority to direct persons to decontaminate if they are suspected of exposure to a disease or pest of biosecurity concern to Australia. Horse importers and/or their agents must comply with all directions given by a biosecurity officer.

Preparatory requirements

The importer must:

  1. Hold a valid import permit for the horses.
  • Permits for horses from New Zealand are valid for 12 months with multiple consignments of horses permitted.
  • Permits for horses from New Caledonia are valid for 2 months and are for a single consignment. 
  1. Read, understand and meet all requirements specified in each import permit.

It is the importer’s responsibility to ensure that owners are aware of the risks associated with importing horses into Australia. Suspected and/or confirmed exotic disease in an imported horse may result in it (along with all in-contact horses) not being released from biosecurity control pending further requirements.

Pre-arrival responsibilities

The importer must:

  1. Ensure that all pre-export conditions detailed on the import permit are met.
  2. Not allow hay or straw bedding to be used during transport.
  3. At least three (3) business days prior to arrival of the horses, notify the department’s horse co-ordinator for the relevant region where the horses will arrive in Australia.

Note: Importers must complete Template: 0.2 Notice of intent to import live horses (NOI) and email or fax it to the relevant departmental regional office. The form is located on the department’s website on the horse importing webpages at: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/goods/live-animals/importing-live-horses/notice-intent-import-live-horses. A list of horses to be imported, including details of any variations to import permit conditions, should also be provided as part of the notification process.

  1. Confirm by phone to the regional horse coordinator the time of the consignment’s arrival or any changes to the schedule.
  2. Provide the AIMS entry number for the consignment to the regional horse coordinator.
  3. Make any necessary bookings for first-point-of-entry facilities for the consignment’s arrival.
  4. For horses from New Zealand, supply the following information to the regional horse coordinator prior to the arrival of the horses:
  • Dates and results of all required tests and treatments, dates of all required vaccinations.
  • Details of any additional treatments for horses in the consignment.
  • Draft wording for the health certification that represents all horses in the consignment.
  • Any permit variations for the horses in this consignment.
  1. For horses from New Caledonia, supply the following information to the regional horse coordinator prior to the horses leaving the pre-export isolation facility for the port of export:
  • The dates and results of all required tests and treatments, and the dates of all required vaccinations.
  • Details of any additional treatments for horses in the consignment.
  • Any permit variations for the horses in the consignment.
  • A statement confirming that the official certification accompanying the horses in the consignment will match the import permit conditions and any permit variations.

Note: Importers must not allow horses to leave the pre-export isolation facility for export until they have received a pre-export compliance report from the department approving the horses to be loaded for export.

  1. For horses from New Caledonia, supply the following information to the department prior to the arrival of the horses:
  • Copies of certified health certificates and any supporting documentation (e.g. laboratory reports).

On-arrival responsibilities

The importer must:

  1. Comply with all department directions.
  2. Ensure all horses in the consignment are readily identifiable at the time of arrival e.g. mane or rump labels.
  3. Give all original health certificates and supporting documentation to a biosecurity officer at the first-point-of-entry.
  4. Arrange a sufficient number of horse transport vehicles/facilities to hold all horses until the clearance process is completed.
  5. Provide sufficient personnel to assist the unloading and clearance of horses. However, please note that unauthorised personnel will not be permitted in the area.
  6. Ensure that equipment, horse stalls or any other equipment imported with the horses is cleaned, disinfected or treated according to the department’s directions. The importer is responsible for all costs associated with cleaning, disinfection and/or treatment of horse equipment and appropriate disposal of plant material and feeds (hay, chaff, fodder, etc.) used during transport to Australia. Plant material used for bedding or animal feed cannot be imported into Australia without an import permit.

The importer is responsible for meeting all department costs associated with the import of horses including the costs associated with import permit applications, inspection and any contingency arrangements should they be required.

Department contacts

Section

Email

Phone

Horse, Livestock and Bird Imports Program

horses@agriculture.gov.au

61 2 6272 4158

Horse Coordinator Sydney

horsessydney@awe.gov.au

61 2 8334 7606
61 466 656 982

Horse Coordinator Melbourne

Horsesmelbourne@agriculture.gov.au

61 466 334 510

Horse Coordinator Brisbane

qldliveanimalimports@agriculture.gov.au

61 7 3246 8637
61 428 100 523

Document information

The following table contains administrative metadata.

Document owner:

Director of Horse, Livestock and Bird Import Program

Document ID:

2012/2376

FOI exemption:

No

TRIM file number:

2014/11556E

Review date:

October 2023

Version history

The following table details the published date and amendment details for this document.

Version

Date

Amendment details

1.0

09/07/2012

To clarify importer’s responsibilities for the clearance of live horses from New Zealand.

2.0

20/08/2013

Amended to implement IRA review.

3.0

07/10/2014

Amended to include responsibilities for import and clearance of horses from New Caledonia. Updated on new template.

4.0 16/6/2016 Updates to comply with the new Biosecurity Act 2015
5.0 10/10/2018

Updated phone numbers in contact list.
Updated wording for permit variations.

6.0 23/04/2019 Removal of requirement to provide a contingency plan.
7.0 6/10/2020 Move to new format, general updates and updates to department name and terms. 
​​​
Last reviewed: 13 October 2020
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