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Arrival of goods in Australia

​​Inspection of containers is undertaken on a risk basis, focusing on pathways that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has assessed to be higher risk pathways for pests and diseases.

All containers are inspected if they are:

Country Action List - high risk pests

The department targets a range of high risk pests and other contaminants (such as soil) on imported sea containers and non-containerised (break bulk) cargo.

High risk pests include but are not limited to:

  • giant African snails
  • black spined toads
  • exotic bees
  • ants.

All containers and break bulk from countries listed on the Country Action List (CAL) require full six-sided inspection of external surfaces and the internal surfaces of empty containers prior to release from the terminal, unless special arrangements have been made with the department.

If your goods are imported from one of the countries listed on the CAL, you must check the CAL status of your goods with the relevant stevedore before arranging collection of the goods from the terminal.

Unpack destination

All shipping containers destined to be unpacked in rural areas are subject to tailgate inspections. A 'rural tailgate' inspection involves directing containers to an Approved Arrangement (AA) site, ​inspecting all external surfaces of the container before opening the doors and checking for obvious signs of pests, plant material and non–compliant packaging.

The requirement for an inspection is based on delivery destination and route postcodes - Postcode classification search.

Clearance of goods

Clearance of cargo arriving in Australia can often be completed using declarations and information provided by the importer.

Cargo may also have to undergo inspection and treatment prior to clearance.

​Reportable biosecurity incidents

It is important that biosecurity incidents are reported as soon as practicable to limit the risk associated with any pest or disease entering, establishing or spreading into Australian territory.

You are required by law to report certain biosecurity incidents if you are:

  • a person in charge of goods subject to biosecurity control, or an exposed good order; or
  • a person in charge of an aircraft or vessel carrying goods subject to biosecurity control, or an exposed goods order; and
  • you become aware of a reportable biosecurity incident in relation to those goods.

A report can be made by calling 1800 798 636 or by completing the Reportable Biosecurity Incident form.