146-2018 - Import document assessment delays

​17 October 2018

Who does this notice affect?

All clients who submit documentation to the department for import assessment via the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) or other departmental approved systems.

What has changed?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) has implemented measures to manage the biosecurity risk posed during the 2018-2019 Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) season (1 September 2018 until 30 April 2019). This has resulted in delays to import document processing due to the increased intervention required. This additional workload also corresponds to the peak importing season from October to January.

The high volumes that the department is experiencing is expected to continue until the end of March 2019.

What are we doing to manage increased workloads?

The Assessment Services Group (ASG) have deployed all available resources to assist in reducing workloads, and are implementing system enhancements that will assist in managing our workloads more effectively.

How can you help minimise potential assessment delays?

1. Consider alternatives before calling the department

The department is receiving a very high number of calls relating to BMSB and delays in assessments. Prior to calling with a BMSB enquiry please:

  • Refer to the BMSB page on our website and if your query is not resolved;
  • Raise an enquiry through COLS;
  • If you are querying the assessment outcome, lodge your LRN for re-assessment.

2.  Know your import requirements prior to lodging documentation

The following information may assist in identifying the relevant import requirements prior to lodging documentation for assessment:

  • The departments Import home page provides general information about Biosecurity and Imported Food requirements.
  • The department has a designated web page for the BMSB seasonal measures.
  • BICON is the departments import conditions database, and will provide you with the relevant pre and post border requirements.
  • The Documentary requirements for import web page provides information about the departments documentary requirements.

3.  Lodging documentation in COLS

  • Ensure that documents and other information relating to the consignment are lodged through approved systems and processes in a timely manner prior to goods landing.
  • Ensure that all documents required to assess your consignment are submitted in the first instance and are in line with relevant import conditions, and import documentary requirements such as:
  • Do not provide unnecessary documents, as this may result in longer assessment times.
  • Ensure any specific additional information is included in the “Additional Information” field in COLS.
  • Regardless of the expected assessment outcome, nominate a valid Approved Arrangement (AA) inspection location, preferably with the AA registration number and name, to avoid additional processing delays.

4.  Additional information for Imported Food consignments

The following information may assist in understanding Imported Food requirements:

  • Consignment specific information such as lot or can codes must be presented at time of processing.
  • Laboratory Nominations must be submitted and accepted prior to booking any Imported Food inspections.
  • The department requires Imported Food inspections to be booked upon receipt of the Food Control Certificate (FCC) and confirmed availability of goods.
  • Once a booking has been confirmed, the following information must be available at the nominated inspection premises at the time of inspection:
    • All relevant documents to the inspection (e.g. invoices, packing lists, line identification, lot code lists, as well as a copy of the FCC) must be presented to the inspecting officer in hardcopy form.
    • All goods identified in the INSPECTION or INSPECTION & ANALYSIS REQUIRED section of the FCC must be fully unpacked and available at the arranged inspection time.
    • The importer or agent should be present at the time of inspection to assist in consignment identification and obtaining samples (if required).
    • Failure to comply with the above points may result in the inspection being cancelled.

Further information

Please contact the department on 1800 900 090 or email Imports.

Last reviewed: 29 September 2020
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