Legislation for importing to Western Australia

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) is responsible for the administration of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) and associated regulations. The following information outlines the parts of this legislation that are applicable to the importation of organisms and potential carriers into Western Australia (WA). The purpose of this legislation is to protect WA from incursions of pests, diseases and weeds that could impact on agriculture and the environment.

Organisms and potential carriers

For the purposes of the BAM Act an organism means a living thing, disease or agent that can cause disease, excluding humans.

Under the BAM Act organisms can be declared to be ‘permitted’ (section 11), ‘prohibited’ (section 12) or as ‘declared pests’ (section 22). Organisms not declared under the BAM Act are ‘unlisted’. The status of organisms can be found on the Western Australian Organisms List (WAOL).

The BAM Act defines potential carriers as:

  • anything that is capable of carrying an organism; or
  • anything that is capable of carrying anything else that is capable of carrying an organism.

Potential carriers are prescribed under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 as follows:

  • new or used machinery or equipment, or a part of machinery or equipment, used or intended to be used, or manufactured for use
    • in association with an agricultural activity or an agricultural product; or
    • in association with animals, plant material or soil; or
    • in earthmoving or mining.
  • an animal or animal product
  • animal feed of plant origin, but not including processed animal feed or manufactured animal feed (as those terms are defined in section 9(2) of the Act) for dogs, cats or fish
  • a plant, other than a canned and cooked plant
  • canned seed
  • absorbent pet litter derived from plant material
  • soil
  • plant growing media and landscaping material: for example, woodchips, potting mix, mulch
  • a cargo container
  • a container of any kind used for or in connection with agricultural products
  • a container used to transport animals (other than dogs or cats)
  • a container of, and any contents included in a container of, live fish
  • non-potable water
  • a vessel
  • vessel ballast water
  • a vehicle.

Permitted and prohibited

Section 15 of the BAM Act requires some organisms to enter WA under an import permit, and allows for regulations to further restrict, permit or prohibit the entry of organisms and potential carriers into WA. Importation in contravention of the BAM Act and its regulations is an offence.

Many organisms that may be listed as permitted will also be potential carriers, because they are capable of carrying other organisms. Potential carriers must be imported in accordance with the regulations.

The regulations allow that restrictions or conditions of entry are in place for the import of potential carriers. These must be met for the potential carrier to be allowed entry into WA. Conditions of entry may include chemical treatments, or inspection and certification. Conditions of entry can be found by checking on the Quarantine WA Import Requirements Search.

Penalties can be applied for non-compliance.

Some organisms that hold a permitted status may effectively be prohibited imports because they are hosts of pests and diseases that are untreatable. These are identified in the Quarantine WA Import Requirements Search.

If an organism is prohibited or unlisted, it may be allowed entry under an import permit. An import permit will state all conditions to be imposed and these conditions must be strictly adhered to. Imports under permit will generally also require a keeping permit, unless they are designated to be kept at a suitable quarantine facility.

Import permits

Section 16 of the BAM Act refers to import permits and allows persons the right to apply for a permit. The department may issue or refuse a permit, and impose any necessary conditions on the permit.

To obtain information on how to apply for a permit you can contact the Pest and Disease Information Service. An Application for Import Permit form can be downloaded from the right-hand links on this page.

Other information

The BAM legislation also regulates Quality Assurance and Accreditation Arrangements. These allow certain businesses to enter into an agreement with DAFWA which allows a business to carry out some quarantine functions under the Act. For further information on this you can read our pages on Quality Assurance Schemes or contact Quarantine WA on +61 (0)8 9334 1800.

For more information relating to importing specific products please check our pages under the Biosecurity and Quarantine tab or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service who will direct your call to the appropriate section.

Contact information

Quarantine WA Imports
Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
Page last updated: Friday, 1 July 2016 - 11:17am