13 July 2021
Who does this notice affect?
Clients in the import and shipping industries – including freight forwarders, importers and customs brokers – associated with imported goods and containers.
What has changed?
The Minimum documentary and import declarations requirements policy sets the requirements for documents submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for assessment of the biosecurity risk of goods imported into Australia. This includes requirements for certification related to treatments conducted in exporting countries to mitigate potential biosecurity risks prior to shipment.
As a result of the recently updated Minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy version 4.0, documentary requirements for fumigation certificates are changing.
The current policy (version 3.0) differentiates statements required to be made on fumigation certificates with respect to impervious surfaces, wrappings and timber thickness depending on whether the treatment provider issuing the certificate is registered with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Current Policy (version 3.0) Requirements
Treatment providers other than those undertaking a treatment under one of the department’s recognised schemes (AFAS, BMSB) or to address the risk of Khapra Beetle are required to make a statement related to plastic wrapping of the goods only.
The current policy enables one of the following statements to be made:
- ‘plastic wrapping has not been used in this consignment’
- ‘this consignment has been fumigated before application of plastic wrapping’
- ‘plastic wrapping used in this consignment conforms to the AFAS wrapping and perforation standard as found in the AFAS Methyl Bromide Fumigation Standard’.
Revised Policy (version 4.0) Requirements
The revised policy which comes into effect 2 August 2021 enables a single statement to be used on all methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride certificates regardless of the treatment provider.
The revised requirement is:
- A statement confirming that the target of the fumigation conforms to the plastic wrapping, impervious surface and timber thickness requirements at the time of fumigation, as per Appendix 3 of the Methyl Bromide Fumigation Methodology.
- A statement confirming that the target of the fumigation conforms to the plastic wrapping, impervious surface and timber thickness requirements at the time of fumigation, as per Appendix 2a of the Sulfuryl Fluoride Fumigation Methodology
Reason for the change
The primary reason for this change is that the current statements do not address timber thickness and impervious coating considerations that must be taken into account to ensure effective fumigations are conducted. The new policy harmonises the requirement between providers and removes opportunity for conflicting statements to be made.
Action for industry participants
AFAS, BMSB and Khapra Beetle fumigations
No action is required for goods that are fumigated prior to export to Australia under the Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme (AFAS), the Offshore Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Treatment Providers Scheme or for any consignments fumigated for the risk of Khapra Beetle.
Providers fumigating these goods are already required to make a statement confirming that the target of the fumigation conforms to the plastic wrapping, impervious surface and timber thickness requirements at the time of fumigation, as per Appendix 3 of the Methyl Bromide Fumigation Methodology.
All other offshore fumigations
For all other goods that require fumigation prior to shipment and are exported to Australia on or after 2 August 2021, importers and their agents are encouraged to ensure that treatment providers are aware of the new requirement.
Templates that include the required statement are available on our Methodologies and documents for biosecurity treatments and Acceptable documentation templates webpages.
Compliance with the new requirement
For some goods, import conditions stipulated in BICON mandate treatment within a specific timeframe prior to export of the goods to Australia. Where the fumigation has been completed and the certificate has been issued within the specified timeframe and before 2 August 2021, the existing plastic wrapping declarations will be considered acceptable. This includes manufactured wooden articles that are accompanied by a storage declaration. Relevant BICON cases will be updated to clarify this requirement.
All other goods fumigated and exported to Australia after 2 August 2021 that arrive with a fumigation certificate that does not bear the new statement will be subject to inspection or treatment on arrival if amended documentation cannot be obtained.