Procedures to assess treatment provider status

​​​All consignments imported into Australia that have been treated offshore with methyl bromide and are accompanied by a valid fumigation certification must be checked against the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources offshore treatment providers list to confirm acceptability of the treatment.

Customs brokers can remove the need to manually check a treatment provider’s acceptability status on the offshore methyl bromide treatment providers lists by entering the treatment provider’s unique identification number into the AEI field when lodging the entry.

See also:

Treatment provider status categories

Acceptable:

The treatment provider has no current restrictions for treating goods for export to Australia. Treatment certificates are accepted. Consignments are dealt with according to the relevant Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) or import permit requirements.

Under investigation

The treatment provider is placed ‘under investigation’ if flawed treatment practices or fraudulent documentation are suspected indicating an ineffective treatment. Treatment certificates are not accepted from a treatment provider as of the date it is listed as ‘under investigation’ and there is no allowance for goods in transit. Consignments must be either:

  • directed for a full unpack and inspection at a class 1 approved arrangement site
  • re-treated in Australia
  • exported to the country of origin, or
  • destroyed.

If a consignment has been directed for inspection and found to be free of insects, it can be released.

Unacceptable (non-AFAS countries)

A treatment provider will be deemed ‘unacceptable’ when flawed treatment practices or fraudulent documentation are confirmed or the Overseas Government Agency (OGA) has failed to respond to the department's request for information about the fumigation company within three months:

  • re-treated in Australia
  • exported to the country of origin, or
  • destroyed.

Suspended (AFAS participating countries only)

A treatment provider will be deemed ‘suspended’ when flawed treatment practices or fraudulent documentation are confirmed, or the OGA has failed to respond to the department’s request to report on the fumigation practices of a treatment provider that is under investigation within three months. A company may also be suspended if it fails a routine audit conducted by the department or the OGA. Treatment certificates are not accepted from a treatment provider as of the date it is listed as 'suspended' and there is no allowance for goods in transit. Consignments must be either:

  • re-treated in Australia
  • exported to the country of origin, or
  • destroyed.

Withdrawn (AFAS participating countries only)

A treatment provider may apply for ‘withdrawn’ status if it no longer employs an Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS) accredited fumigator. Treatment certificates issued prior to the listed withdrawal date will be accepted. Treatment certificates issued on or after the withdrawal date will not be accepted. Consignments must be either:

  • re-treated in Australia
  • exported to the country of origin, or
  • destroyed.

Note: It is the importer’s responsibility to check the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON), and the import permit conditions (if relevant) to ensure that all import requirements are met prior to importing consignments into Australia.

In-transit policy

Consignments or goods are classified as ‘in-transit’ when they have left the country of origin but have not yet been cleared through the border in Australia. When offshore methyl bromide treatment providers are no longer considered ‘acceptable’, the department enacts its in-transit policy.

Industry will be notified of a treatment provider classified as ‘suspended’, ‘under investigation’ or ‘unacceptable’ through a change of status published on the department’s offshore treatment providers list and use of the following statement:

‘from the date of this notice and until further advised, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will not accept any fumigation certification from the following treatment providers’.

All methyl bromide treatment certification issued by a treatment provider classified as ‘suspended’, ‘under investigation’ or ‘unacceptable’ will be considered unacceptable from the date published on the offshore treatment providers list, regardless of the date of fumigation or date of issue on the certificate. This includes certification issued both before and after the change in their status.

The date published in the offshore treatment providers list is to notify industry that from this date the department no longer considers the identified treatment providers as performing effective fumigations and will no longer accept any certification from these companies. It does not relate in any way to the date on the certificate.

Example 1

The department has evidence that treatments being performed offshore by ‘Company A’ are ineffective. The department decides the company is to be placed under investigation and notifies industry of the change in approval status through the web site on 2 September 2013. As the department is not confident of the effectiveness of treatments performed by ‘Company A’, all certificates must be considered unacceptable, irrespective of the date printed on the certificate. Any consignment that has not cleared the border at the time the web site is updated, placing a treatment provider under investigation or suspension, will be immediately considered as having an unacceptable treatment certificate.

Example 2

On 4 September 2013 a customs broker presents to the department a fumigation certificate from ‘Company A’ to support the clearance of a consignment. A check of the offshore treatment providers list finds that ‘Company A’ was placed under investigation on the 2 September 2013. The fumigation certificate indicates that the fumigation has taken place on 19 August 2013, prior to the company being placed under investigation. As the department has evidence that treatments being performed by ‘Company A’ are ineffective the certificate cannot be accepted.

When a treatment providers status is returned to ‘acceptable’, only certification with a treatment date on or after the date their ‘acceptable’ status is returned are acceptable. The date a recently reinstated treatment provider was reinstated can be found on the summary of recent changes to the offshore treatment providers lists.

Example 3

At audit, Company A has successfully demonstrated that they could perform fumigations to the required standard. The department notifies industry by changing their status to ‘acceptable’ on the offshore treatment providers lists on the 25 September 2013. Only fumigation certificates dated on or after 25 September 2013 will be accepted as meeting Australian import requirements.

17 September 2013

Administrative changes:

Country

AFAS ID

Company name

Status

AEI No.

A

AFAS A 8888

Company X

Reinstated

AA8888MB

B

AFAS B 9999

Company Y

Newly registered

BB9999MB

B

AFAS B 1111

Company Z

Newly registered

BB1111MB

From the date of this notice and until further advised, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will not accept any fumigation certification from these treatment providers.

Country

AFAS ID

Company name

Status

AEI No.

A

AFAS A 5555

Company Q

Under investigation

AA5555MB

B

AFAS B 3333

Company R

Withdrawn

BB3333MB


Contact AFAS about the status of offshore treatment providers.

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