Many people proceed with shipping to Australia their belongings unaware that they will be subject to some of the strictest customs and quarantine regulations in the world. The majority of immigrants to Australia place the responsibility of shipping their possessions squarely on the shoulders of the shipping company they hire.
Some will do their research and are interested to know for themselves all the latest regulations that can affect the shipment of their belongings. In any case, your items must be cleared by customs and quarantine before you can take possession of them, so it is good to have an idea of what you are dealing with.
Australia is known for having some of the tightest quarantine restrictions in the world, and they have a good reason for this. Since Australia is actually a secluded continent, it has been spared from many of the pests and diseases that affect animals and plants throughout the rest of the world. Its isolation acts as a natural barrier against invading pests and diseases.
As a result the livestock and agricultural industries of Australia are greatly esteemed worldwide. Any contamination of Australia’s pristine environment, as a result of shipping to Australia contaminated goods, can cost the agriculture industry millions of dollars in lost revenues. For protection, Australia has introduced severe quarantine laws which deal heavy fines to those who try to break them.
Introducing the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, otherwise known as the AQIS. The AQIS is in charge of all quarantine decisions and go to great lengths to inspect any item (and we really mean any item) that enters the country. Although they may seem harmless, a variety of products such as meat, eggs, dairy, and honey are prohibited.
Restrictions on plant produce such as flowers, fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and shells are also strictly enforced. Even containers that used to hold fruit or vegetable produce should not be used. Do not pack and ship your belongings to Australia in boxes that were used previously for fruit or vegetables.
Real expertise can be seen where even cars go through a quarantine inspection as well (even though they are not edible.) Although people are technically permitted with shipping to Australia their cars the AQIS is fearful that contaminants, whether it be discarded can of tuna, or leftover seeds in a nosh bag, arrive to Australia with their vehicle.
Therefore, all motor vehicles will be inspected. Many immigrants even steam clean their cars before shipping them to Australia. Since the vehicle must be completely spotless, even dirt stuck on the underside of the car can prevent a vehicle from being released. Imagine what kind of inspection garden tools, outdoor equipment, and lawn furniture will have to go through.
In any case, make sure to declare any items that may even be in doubt as far as their status. The AQIS personnel are very highly trained and efficient in their job so a large majority of items are happily returned to immigrants. But take care, serious fines and penalties are levied to those who do not declare items defined as of ecological risk.
Author: Randall Phillips