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Imported bulk grain poses a high biosecurity risk. It can provide a direct pathway for exotic plant and animal pests and diseases that can harm humans, animals, crops and the environment.
If introduced, these pests could devastate our livestock industries, have a significant impact on our grains industries, harm the natural environment and damage Australia’s reputation as an exporter.
We assess each import application against our long-established policies, setting strict requirements to manage the risks.
We will only permit the import if we are confident the pest and disease risks can be managed to achieve Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection (ALOP).
Before you import
You must know and be able to meet all import requirements. You must follow these steps to safely import bulk grain to Australia.
If the grain doesn’t meet the import requirements it will be not be permitted entry into Australia.
Step 1: Check all import requirements
To import to Australia, the grain must be:
- sourced from areas with a low plant and animal biosecurity risk status
- grown, harvested, stored and transported in a way that prevents contamination
- graded and certified as having low levels of foreign material including weed seeds and soil
- inspected and certified as free from pests of biosecurity concern.
When the grain arrives in Australia it must be:
- transported securely to minimise the risk of spillage
- stored and processed under biosecurity control at a facility that we authorise as an approved arrangement
- processed using a department-approved method to mitigate plant and animal biosecurity risks.
You may also need to meet laws and requirements set by other Australian authorities such as the Department of Health, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand and any state agencies such as Departments of Agriculture and Health and Environmental Protection authorities. There may be requirements set by other organisations not listed here.
Step 2: Apply for a permit
Before applying for a permit, contact us to discuss the import on 1800 900 090 or by email.
To apply for a permit:
- Complete an application for Bulk grain for processing using the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
- Ensure you have access to an approved storage site (AA Class 2.7) and/or processing site (AA Class 3.1). Or apply for a 2.7 and 3.1 approved arrangement.
- Develop and submit a Process Management System (PMS) describing the processes and responsible parties to manage the importation, handling, storage and processing of imported bulk grain.
When we receive your application, we will:
- undertake a country health status assessment
- check all information is supplied
- assess the application and undertake a desk audit
- assess the suitability of the proposed storage and processing site locations by considering their proximity to agricultural production areas
- complete a site audit of the proposed onshore import pathway including any approved arrangements
- assess the cargo history of the proposed vessel
- advise you of the outcome of our assessment.
We will only grant an import permit if we are confident the biosecurity risks can be managed.
We cost recover all time spent assessing an import permit (including audits and site inspections).
See our charging guidelines for more details
Please provide accurate information to minimise costs.
You will be responsible for some or all costs associated with any site inspection or audit. This includes airfares, accommodation, meals and fee for service costs.
Managing biosecurity risks during the importation
We will work with you to manage biosecurity risks during the importation to achieve Australia’s ALOP.
We will verify that you are meeting the conditions of the import permit at each step.
We may intervene at any time to stop activity or require it to be done differently.
If we find that you have not complied with the conditions, we may suspend or revoke the import permit. Your shipment may be re-exported. We may also refuse to issue you another permit if you have not taken corrective action to address the non-compliance.
We may also suspend or revoke the approve arrangements for any storage or processing facility we find not complying with their conditions. This may impact your ability to import grain into Australia.
We also survey for pests of biosecurity concern at the port precinct and at the approved arrangement sites.
See our infographic to learn more about how we manage the biosecurity risks of imported bulk grain.
Make sure you’re aware of all your responsibilities for importing goods to Australia.
Check out our bite-sized biosecurity videos. Each explores ways we work at the border to prevent the arrival of exotic plant pests.
- Australian Grains Forum communique, November 2019
- Risk assessments for importing grain from various countries
Email the Imports team or call 1800 900 090.