Importing cut flowers and foliage infographic

This infographic sets out the process for importing fresh cut flowers and foliage into Australia for commercial purposes. It details the responsibilities of Government and industry to manage the associated biosecurity risks at each step of the import journey, from the offshore farm to Australia’s border.

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Step 1: Flowers produced and prepared for export to Australia

Australia’s import conditions require that cut flowers and foliage produced for export to Australia:

If you are an importer, you may need to apply for an import permit depending on the country you source from and the pre-export phytosanitary treatment method used in that country.

Step 2: Pre-export inspection

The exporting country’s National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) will inspect the flowers before shipment to Australia to determine if they are free from live insects, disease symptoms, weed seeds and other contaminants.

If the NPPO finds live pests of biosecurity concern on the flowers and foliage, they must either fumigate or apply another treatment they have approved to the consignment. They will then re-inspect to determine if the biosecurity risk has been addressed.

Step 3: NPPO certification

If the exporting country’s NPPO is satisfied that the flowers meet Australia’s import requirements they will issue a phytosanitary certificate stating that the flowers and foliage are free from live pests of biosecurity concern. The flowers can then be shipped to Australia.

Step 4: On-arrival document verification in Australia

When the consignment arrives at Australia’s border, a biosecurity officer will review the importer’s documents to ensure the cut flowers and foliage meets Australia’s import conditions. Documents we will ask you to provide include:

  • phytosanitary certificate
  • import permit (if required).

Where documentation is invalid or incomplete, we will hold the consignment until the correct paperwork is provided.

Step 5: Inspection

A biosecurity officer or someone authorised to undertake inspections, will:

  1. check the packaging for damage and secure the damaged consignment if necessary
  2. move the consignment to a biosecurity inspection point where it will be inspected for live insects, weed seeds, diseases and other biosecurity risk material.

If no live insects or biosecurity risk material is found, they will release the consignment from biosecurity control to the importer for entry to the Australian market.

Step 6:  Live insects or biosecurity risk material is found

If live pests or biosecurity risk material is found on the cut flowers and foliage:

  • the consignment will be held in a secure facility at the port of entry
  • the live insects and risk material will be collected and sent to our laboratory for identification to determine if they are a biosecurity risk for Australia.

If we find that the live insects or material is not a biosecurity risk, the biosecurity officer will release the flowers from biosecurity control to the importer for entry to the Australian market.

Step 7: Live insects or material is found to be a biosecurity risk

If we find that the live insects or material is a biosecurity risk to Australia, the biosecurity officer will share the results with the importer to decide on an appropriate management action to take.

Depending on the risk posed, the importer may decide to have the shipment, or just the contaminated part:

  • destroyed under approved biosecurity arrangements
  • exported out of Australia
  • fumigated or reconditioned so they are safe to enter the market.

Step 8: Post treatment verification

Once the flowers have been fumigated or reconditioned a biosecurity officer will verify the treatments have been completed.

Step 9: Flowers released

Upon successful treatment, the flowers will be released from biosecurity control to the importer for entry to the Australian market.

Download the infographic

Department of Agriculture, October 2019

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Importing cut flowers and foliage infographic PDF1375 KB

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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