Importing plant products that are applied to soils and plants

​​​​​​​​​​Types of plant products applied to soils and plants

Plant products commonly applied to soils and plants include fertilisers, potting mixes, soil conditioners, bioremediation agen​ts and geotextiles.

Fertilisers are products that act as a growth enhancer, promoter or regulator and aid plant growth. Plant-based fertilisers may include seaweed extracts, neem cake, compost, coir peat, peat, foliar sprays, and a variety of other products.

Potting mixes are growing media suitable for the establishment and development of a wide range of plants. They may be a mixture of many different plant products.

Soil conditioners are also known as soil amendments. These products include plant materials that are added to soil to improve plant growth and health.

Bioremediation agents are products used in the environment to remove or neutralise contaminants, such as in polluted soil or water. They may require an import permit if they include live organisms on plant-based carriers or products made from plant, animal or microbial materials.

Geotextiles are a type of bioremediation product. Geotextile products such as mats, blankets, nets and logs made from natural fibres, e.g. coir fibre, jute and hemp, which may introduce biosecurity risk material such as soil or seeds into the environment.

Import conditions

Fertilisers can pose a high biosecurity risk because they are applied directly to soil and may contain animal or plant based ingredients. This can provide a pathway for exotic animal and plant pests and diseases to enter and establish in Australia. The department has developed import conditions to address this risk.

All types of products listed above must meet the import conditions as stated on the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system. An import permit is required for all plant-based fertilisers, potting mixes and soil conditioners. Geotextiles for bioremediation do not require an import permit; however they are subject to inspection on arrival.

Please select the link to the BICON cases below to view the import conditions and apply for a permit, if this is required:

Fertilisers – This case describes the requirements for importing fertilisers, soil conditioners and potting mixes made from plant materials as well as raw plant materials used in the production of fertilisers, soil conditioners and potting mixes. Please refer to the BICON case ‘Coir peat’ for coir peat fertiliser and the BICON case ‘Peat’ for peat fertiliser.

Coir peat - This case describes the requirements for the importation of coir peat for use as a growth medium, mulch or fertiliser. Please refer to the BICON case ‘Biodegradable plant pots’ for plant pots made of coir peat.

Peat – This case describes the requirements for the importation of peat for use as a soil conditioner.

Biodegradable plant pots – This case describes the requirements for the importation of biodegradable plant pots made from rice husks, coir peat, sphagnum, wood pulp and other plant materials.

Geotextiles for bioremediation – This case describes the requirements for the importation of geotextiles for use in erosion control, weed suppression and landscaping.

Questionnaire for manufacturers

As per the conditions set out in BICON, import permit applications for fertiliser require the manufacturer of the product to complete a production questionnaire (which is to be attached to the permit application). The information collected will be used to determine import conditions for these products. Please add pages if the space provided is insufficient.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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