Temporary measures to assist with assessment and issuance of import permits due to COVID-19

17 April 2020

Who does this notice affect?

Importers of animals, biological and animal based goods.


The department is committed to supporting trade during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The department is focusing on measures to expedite the assessment and issuance of import permits for arrange of goods including, but not limited to, products for diagnosis, testing, treatment and research of COVID-19, and live laboratory animals, food products, animal feeds, and fertiliser.

Interim arrangements

This temporary arrangement will be in place until 1 July 2020. Stakeholders will be notified of any extension to this arrangement closer to this date.

Import conditions must still be met to satisfy Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection, as required by the Biosecurity Act 2015. This is to ensure Australia’s biosecurity, pest and disease status is maintained to protect animal industries, the economy and the environment from the impacts of exotic pests and diseases.

If your import business has been, or is being, impacted by the current pandemic, particularly in the areas described above, please contact the department and we will work to assist you to continue to trade in these difficult times.

The department will continue pursue any evidence of fraudulent documentation as per our standard practice.

For new and existing applications:

  • email the application number to imports@awe.gov.au
  • provide information demonstrating how the goods being imported are being impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • ensure that all relevant information is provided, including the completed ‘manufacturer’s questionnaire’, if this is requested in the application form.

This alert affects the following commodities;

  • Diagnostic test kits
  • Human therapeutics and medicines
  • Laboratory materials
  • Microorganisms and infectious agents (and derivatives)
  • Human fluids and tissues
  • Purified antibodies
  • Cell lines
  • Culture media
  • Laboratory animals
  • Food products
  • Fertilisers
  • Animal feeds
  • Live animal imports, including horses and hatching eggs.

Further information:    

If you have questions or need further information, you can contact our Import Services team on:

  • Email at imports@awe.gov.au
  • Phone (from within Australia): 1800 900 090
  • Phone (from outside Australia): + 61 3 8318 6700

Also visit the department’s COVID-19 information hub for other commodities and current information and advice on changes to our services due to COVID-19.

Last reviewed: 17 April 2020
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