Bulk grain import permits

24 May 2019

The department’s decision to approve an import permit for bulk grain is based solely on whether the biosecurity risks can be managed. If the risks cannot be managed, imports will not be permitted.

The conditions imposed through the import permit ensure biosecurity risks are managed along the entire import pathway, from the farm to the processing plant in Australia.

The department has strict requirements which must be complied with to manage the biosecurity risks associated with imported grain.

If an importer is found to not comply with the import permit conditions, the import permit and approved arrangement can be suspended or revoked, or enforcement action can be undertaken.

For more information visit Importing bulk grain for stockfeed and milling.

Background on import requirements

  • Every permit application is considered on a case-by-case basis and is subject to a risk assessment to allow specific consideration of the biosecurity risks posed by the proposed import pathway.
  • The department can refuse to allow shipments to be discharged, require corrective actions to be taken or greater departmental supervision of the shipment along the import pathway.
  • A department-approved and audited Process Management System (PMS) must be put in place outlining the processes for sourcing, movement and loading offshore and movement, storage and processing within Australia.
  • Grain must be sourced from areas of low plant and animal risk, in particular free from pathogens and pests of biosecurity concern to Australia.
  • The export pathway from the farm to the point of loading must be approved by the department to ensure the grain has been sourced from and transported within the designated areas.
  • Storage and transport units used along the export pathway must be thoroughly cleaned prior to use to prevent contamination with imported and/or local whole grain, stock feed or stock feed ingredients, insect pests, and other infestible residues, soil, animal or avian remains, faeces or any other extraneous contamination.
  • Assurance of cleanliness is provided through third party inspection certification or recognition of industry quality management systems that manage contamination risks.
  • Grain must be graded and certified by the exporting country’s quality standards body at the point of export to ensure minimal levels of foreign material within the consignment such as weed seeds, soil, animal material.
  • On arrival in Australia, grain must be transported in clean conveyances and conveyances must be sufficiently secure to control the leakage of grain or dust during transport from the point of discharge through to the point of processing. For example, approved sealed containers or roll-over tarp trucks.
  • Grain must be transported along approved routes that have been assessed by the department and tracked from the point of arrival to final release from biosecurity control. All grain movements must be reported to the department and grain weight reconciliations undertaken.
  • Imported grain must be stored and processed while subject to biosecurity control in a facility covered by an approved arrangement (approved arrangement site). Storage and processing of imported grain must also be managed in accordance with the approved arrangement, including to contain spills and manage associated biosecurity concerns.
  • A department-approved Site Operations Manual must be in place for the approved arrangement site outlining the processes for managing the grain within the confines of the approved arrangement site. Approval of the site is only given if department requirements are met at desk and site audit.
  • The assessment of the approved arrangement site and the transport route considers a range of factors relevant to the management of biosecurity risk including proximity to agricultural production, potential hosts (animal and plant) and transport routes (especially passage through agricultural areas).
  • Processing and treatment of imported grain must be undertaken with specific time and temperature requirements to further reduce the biosecurity risks before release from biosecurity control.
  • Associated waste must be disposed of according to departmental requirements and in accordance with an approved arrangement, such as deep burial, high temperature incineration or autoclave.
  • The importer must have emergency action plans in place to manage spillage or any other possible incidents on the import pathway.
  • Verification inspections to assess biosecurity risk will be undertaken by a biosecurity officer during discharge at each port; on completion of discharge at each port; during receival and outloading from each approved arrangement site and following decontamination at each approved arrangement site.
  • When the import process has been completed, the storage and processing facilities must undertake comprehensive department-approved decommissioning processes prior to re-commencing normal operations.