Transitioning from the Quarantine Act to the Biosecurity Act

​All aspects of the Biosecurity Act 2015 commenced on 16 June 2016.

The Biosecurity (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2015 provides the supporting legislative basis to transition biosecurity operations from the Quarantine Act 1908 to the Biosecurity Act 2015.

All notices, directions, permits and permissions issued before 16 June (under the Quarantine Act) remain in force after that date.

In addition, some parts of the Biosecurity Act have transitional arrangements that provide additional time to ensure stakeholders and clients can comply with the changes.

The department has also adopted an overall approach to compliance that assumes that most people comply, or try to comply, with their obligations.

Import conditions

Import conditions and entry management procedures have not changed a great deal from the Quarantine Act to the Biosecurity Act.

The department has revised some import conditions and removed the requirement for a permit for a number of commodities when specified import conditions have been met. Read more about commodities that are affected by the new conditions.

The department will continue to use the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON) to set out the conditions that apply to goods that can be brought into Australia.

Import Permits

Importers will notice very little change in the processes when they apply for permits.

Import permits granted under the Quarantine Act prior to 16 June remain valid under the Biosecurity Act for the period stated on the permit.

Permit fees for applications lodged prior to 16 June 2016 are the same as those payable immediately following the commencement of the Biosecurity Act.

Some goods may no longer require an import permit when specified conditions are met.

Some goods now require an import permit.

Importers should continue to ensure that they apply for permits well in advance of the expected landing date. Goods arriving without a permit could be held at the border for an extended period and in some cases, exported or destroyed.

First points of entry

The new legislation recognises that some landing places and ports may need to introduce different processes, systems or facilities to meet the first points of entry requirements under the Act.

Transitional arrangements are in place for all landing places and ports proclaimed under the Quarantine Act 1908. Temporary Determinations have been made for these locations, which will have effect for three years to June 2019.

During this transition period, the department will work with operators at landing places and ports to identify any changes that may be required and to support them to achieve compliance by June 2019.

At the end of the transition period, these temporary Determinations will expire. For a port or landing place to continue to be recognised as First Point of Entry after this time, it will need to demonstrate that the requirements of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 have been met.

Approved arrangements

On 16 June 2016, existing Quarantine Approved Premises (QAPs) and Compliance Agreements (CAs) approved under the Quarantine Act 1908 became transitional approved arrangements.

The transitional approved arrangements for existing QAPs expired on 30 June 2016. QAPs that wish to continue operating under an arrangement with the department after 30 June have been asked to submit an application for an approved arrangement for existing quarantine approved premises. More information about renewing an existing QAP is available on the approved arrangement section of the website.

For existing CAs, the transitional approved arrangement will expire on 16 December 2017. Brokers with an existing compliance agreement for the Non commodity for Containerised Cargo (NCCC) scheme or Automatic Entry Processing for Commodities (AEPCOMM) scheme have been contacted by the department and invited to renew their agreement under the Biosecurity Act.

All other agreement holders need to renew their transitional approved arrangement or apply for a new approved arrangement under the Biosecurity Act before December 2017 in order to maintain their biosecurity operations.

For additional information about changes under the biosecurity legislation view the What’s changing for quarantine approved premises operators and compliance agreement holders page.

Ballast water

Ballast water in international vessels has been regulated since 2001 under the Quarantine Act 1908 and this will continue under the Biosecurity Act.

The Act introduces, for the first time, regulation of ballast water on all domestic movements of vessels. Implementation of domestic ballast water regulations has been delayed until the International Maritime Organisations’ (IMO) Convention for the Control and Management of Ballast Water and Sediments comes into force.


Contact us for more information

Call 1800 040 629 or email New Biosecurity Legislation to find out more about the Biosecurity Act 2015 and what it means for you.