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Australia's first points of entry and non-first points of entry for vessels

​Public consultation on new first points of entry standards

Draft biosecurity standards for operators of first points of entry are now available for public comment.

Have your say on the proposed first points of entry standards.

​Entry to Australian ports

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, vessels that are subject to biose​curity control must enter Australian ports at a first point of entry, unless permission has been granted to the master or agent by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to enter a non-first point of entry (under subsection 247(b) of the Act).

Plants, animals and other kinds of goods may only be landed at certain points. International vessels must comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the First Point of Entry Biosecurity Determinations 2016 when entering an Australian port.

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First points of entry

Ports that have been determined as first points of entry have been assessed to ensure that the level of biosecurity risk associated with the operations of the port are acceptable and there is adequate infrastructure, facilities and procedures in place to manage biosecurity pest and disease risks associated with vessels and the cargo or passengers they may be carrying.

These ports will have their own Determination as a first point of entry, listing:

  • permissions for the particular classes of vessels, animals, plants or goods that may be landed
  • any Biosecurity Entry points within the port
  • any conditions associated with the port as a first point of entry.

Biosecurity Entry Points are designated areas that may be established within the port where particular classes of vessels or goods must be landed in order to appropriately manage their biosecurity risks.
Vessels may enter these ports as a first point of entry after:

  1. submitting mandatory pre-arrival reporting using MARS
  2. the vessel or agent has received advice on biosecurity, pratique and berthing conditions as Biosecurity Status Documents (BSD’s).

Additional requirements apply to livestock vessels and vessels exposed to high risk seasonal pests.

Masters of vessels are legally obligated to notify the department of any changes to the vessel health status over the course of the voyage in Australian waters and prior to arrival at next ports of call.

A map of Australia’s first points of entry for vessels

You can also view a text-only version of the ports.

Australia's non-first points of entry for vessels

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Ports that are non-first points of entry

Ports which do not have a Determination under section 229 of the Act are classed as non-first points of entry. These ports have not been assessed against the standards in the Biosecurity Regulations and may not have appropriate infrastructure or processes in place to manage biosecurity risks.

Agents or masters of vessels intending to moor at a non-first point of entry must apply to the department for permission under subsection 247(2) of the Act. Agents or masters of vessels intended to visit non first points of entry ports, as subsequent ports of call in their itinerary must also have subsection 247(3) permission for those visits.

Permission to enter non first points

Vessels wishing to moor at a non-first point of entry (previously known as non-proclaimed ports) must submit an application using MARS at least 10 working days prior to arrival at the non-first point of entry.

Cruise and military vessels may submit their applications and itineraries earlier.

Vessels granted permission to enter a non-first point must also submit mandatory pre-arrival reporting to the department 96 to 12 hours prior to arrival at the first port of call. Failure to comply with these requirements may be an offence under the Act.

For an overview of the biosecurity management process for commercial and non-commercial vessels to enter ports in Australia, please visit:

Landing imported animals, plants or other goods at a port other than a first point of entry for those goods

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the master, owner or agent of the vessel must not only ensure that their first intended port of call is a first point of entry; they must also ensure that the port has a Determination to land the particular class of animals, plants or other goods they intend to unload.

If either

  • the intended port of call is a non-first point of entry or
  • the intended port of call is a first point of entry but not determined to unload that particular class of animal, plant or goods

then the master, owner or agent of the vessel must apply for permission for goods to be unloaded, under subsection 146 (2) of the Act.

The master or agent of a vessel must submit a ‘Request to Remove Goods (Other than Cargo) From Ship’ (Form 44) when any goods other than cargo will need to be removed from a vessel.

The Form 44 is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

Completed forms must be submitted to the department at least 10 working days prior to arrival.

Failure to do so may result in a delay in being permitted to land the goods. During this delay, the goods may be required to either remain on the vessel or be held at an Approved Arrangement site.

In the event that permission cannot be granted, the master, owner or agent of the vessel should consider alternative arrangements, such as:

  1. biosecurity clearance of the goods at a first point of entry for those goods, prior to moving them to the non-first point of entry
  2. biosecurity bonding of the goods on board the vessel in circumstances where:
    1. the vessel will be returning overseas
    2. the final destination of the goods is a first point of entry for those goods.

Vessel pratique

Masters of vessels are legally obligated to notify the department of any changes to the vessel health status over the course of the voyage in Australian waters and prior to arrival at next ports of call.

Permission to enter non first points of entry ports

Ports which do not have a Determination under section 229 of the Act are classed as non first points of entry. These ports have not been assessed against the standards in the Biosecurity Regulations so may not have suitable facilities or infrastructure to meet biosecurity risks.

  • Agents or masters of vessels intending to moor at a non first point of entry port must apply to the department for permission under subsection 247 of the Act.
  • Vessels intending to visit non-first points of entry ports, as subsequent ports of call in their itinerary, must also have permission for those visits.

Completed applications should be submitted using MARS at least 10 working days prior to arrival at the first non-first point of entry. Cruise and military vessels may submit their applications and itineraries earlier.

For cruise vessels only – non-first point of entry applications should also be submitted to the Maritime Travellers Processing Committee (MTPC).

Vessels granted permission to enter a non first point must also submit mandatory pre-arrival reporting to the department 96 to 12 hours prior to arrival at the first port of call. Failure to comply with this requirement may be an offence under the legislation.

For an overview of the biosecurity management process for commercial and non-commercial vessels to enter ports in Australia, please visit:

Landing of imported animals, plants or other goods other than at a first point of entry

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the master, owner or agent of the vessel must not only ensure that their first intended port of call is a first point of entry; they must also ensure that the port has a Determination to land the particular class of animals, plants or other goods they intend to unload.

If either.

  1. the intended port of call is a non first point of entry or
  2. the intended port of call is a first point of entry but not determined to unload that particular class of animal, plant or good

then the master, owner or agent of the vessel must apply for permission for goods to be unloaded, under subsection 146 of the Act.

Applications to land goods at a non-first point of entry for those goods should be made using MARS, at least 10 working days prior to arrival.

Failure to do so may result in a delay in being permitted to land the goods. During this delay, the goods may be required to either remain on the vessel or be held at an Approved Arrangement site.

In the event that permission to land goods cannot be granted, the master, owner or agent of the vessel should consider alternative arrangements, such as:

  1. biosecurity clearance of the goods at a first point of entry for those goods, prior to moving them to a non-first point of entry
  2. biosecurity bonding of the goods on board the vessel in circumstances where:
    1. the vessel will be returning overseas
    2. the final destination of the goods is a first point of entry for those goods.
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