45-2020 - COVID-19 impact on Cat and Dog imports to Australia

25 March 2020

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is for all airlines, freight forwarders, pet transport companies and importers of cats and dogs to Australia.

What has changed?

COVID-19 impact on Cat and Dog imports to Australia

The department is currently handling an unprecedented number of enquiries due to the impact of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we respond to these enquiries.

The department is aware of the significant and world-wide disruption to air travel including flight cancellations and airline-imposed restrictions. This means pet importers and owners are experiencing difficulties organising the transport of their animals to Australia. In order to ensure animal welfare and manage the significant biosecurity risks posed by international transport of animals, all animals destined for the quarantine facility at Mickleham must arrive directly into Melbourne Airport. Animals cannot be transhipped to Melbourne on a domestic flight from another Australian port.

The current COVID-19 pandemic does not change the existing risks posed by diseases of biosecurity concern to Australia or the need for cats and dogs to meet the import permit conditions in full. Pre-border waiting periods are crucial to effectively manage the biosecurity risks and cannot be reduced by spending more time in quarantine in Australia.

Any cats or dogs that arrive into Australia during this time unannounced or without a valid import permit and veterinary health certification will be considered non-compliant and subject to immediate re-export from Australia. If the person in charge of the animal cannot arrange re-export, the department may have no other option but to euthanase the animal.

Cat and Dog Import Permits

The department is continuing to process import permit applications and there are no changes to import conditions for cats and dogs in relation to COVID-19 at this time.

Post Entry Quarantine facility - Mickleham

The post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility remains operational at this time, however, is currently experiencing high demand in booking enquiries regarding changes to PEQ reservations. Pet importers and owners are advised to check availability of both the flight arrival date and PEQ capacity to receive their animal on that date. Please email PEQservices@awe.gov.au if you wish to amend a PEQ reservation due to flight disruptions.

The PEQ staff remain dedicated to providing the best care possible for all animals during their stay at the Mickleham facility. Pet importers and owners are responsible for arranging the collection of their animals from the PEQ on the release date to avoid any overstay as additional fees will be incurred.

If you cannot attend the facility in person you can authorise a friend, a family member or pet transport company to collect your animal on your behalf to house or kennel your animal or transport them to you. Please check relevant state or territory government websites for interstate travel movement restrictions.  

Further information

Importers are encouraged to check our website regularly or subscribe to our mailing list for up to date information as import conditions can change without notice.

Last reviewed: 25 March 2020
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