Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Import Regulations - Australia


There is no requirement for companies or individuals to hold an import licence. However, depending on the nature of the commodity, and regardless of value, owners may need to obtain permits to facilitate clearance of goods.

For general information about relevant import regulations for Australia, Canadian companies should:

• consult the web site of the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service or

• the Customs Procedures for Importing and Exporting.

Documentation and Import Entry Costs

The Australian Documentary Import Declaration Comprehensive Guide is designed to assist importers who wish to clear goods imported by sea, air or international mail (post) from Customs and Border Protection. All such goods with a value that exceeds the import entry threshold of A$1000 must be cleared by submitting a completed import declaration form (N10) and paying duty, goods and services tax (GST) and other taxes and charges that apply.

Cost recovery charges apply for the processing of entries. The cost will depend on whether the entry is an electronic entry or a documentary (manual) entry, as well as shipment method (air, sea or post). Schedule of fees.

Should you require further information relating to importing or exporting goods please contact the Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263 or send an email to information@customs.gov.au


While there are several methods of valuing goods for Customs purposes, the method most applied (transaction value) is based on the price actually paid (or payable) for the imported goods subject to certain adjustments. A major condition for using the transaction value is that there is no relationship between the buyer and seller which may influence the price.

Rules of Origin

Rules of origin are the rules applied to determine from which country a good originates for international trade purposes. Rules of origin are necessary for both preferential reasons i.e. determining eligibility for benefits such as reduced rates of duty, and non-preferential reasons such as the imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, country of origin marking, etc.
Detailed information on the rules of origin

Duty Rates

Rates of duty payable by an importer are determined by the classification of goods within the Australian Customs Tariff. In some circumstances, anti-dumping or countervailing measures, which result in the imposition of additional rates of duty, may also apply.
Duty rates current

Indirect taxes

Imported goods may be subjected to one or more indirect taxes. These indirect taxes comprise the goods and services tax, the wine equalisation tax and the luxury car tax.
Conditions surrounding the GST, WET and LCT

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

GST applies to most imported goods. There are few exemptions from the GST, the main ones being certain basic foodstuffs, some medical aids and appliances and imports that qualify for certain customs duty concessions. GST is applied at 10% of the value of the taxable importation. The taxable importation is calculated as the customs value of the imported goods + customs duty (if applicable) + international transport & insurance costs + wine equalisation tax (if applicable).

Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)

WET applies to the following alcoholic beverages: Grape wine, including sparkling wine and fortified wine; Grape wine products such as marsala, vermouth, wine cocktails and creams; Other fruit wines and vegetable wines, including fortified fruit wines and vegetable wines; cider; perry; mead and sake, including fortified mead. WET for imported wine is applied at 29% and is levied at the purchase price at inwards duty free OR for other alcoholic beverages is 29% of the importation cost – ie customs value + customs duty + transport/insurance costs.

Luxury Car Tax (LCT)

LCT is a tax of 33% imposed on the GST-inclusive value of luxury cars over the relevant LCT threshold. You must generally pay LCT when you sell or import a luxury car. You must pay LCT as well as any GST payable. The LCT threshold for the 2012-13 financial year is $59,133. A higher threshold applies for fuel-efficient cars – for 2012-13 the threshold for these cars is $75,375.

A luxury car is a car with a GST-inclusive value above the LCT threshold. Under LCT law, a car is a motor powered road vehicle that is designed to carry a load of less than two tonnes and fewer than nine passengers.

For further information on how to calculate the luxury car value:

Commerce Trade Descriptions

Importers are required to ensure that goods entering the commerce of Australia are correctly marked. Trade description markings must:

  • be in English;
  • be in prominent and legible characters;
  • be on a principal label or brand attached to the goods in a prominent position in a manner as permanent as is practicable;
  • specify if a weight or quantity is net or gross if labelling on the goods includes a weight or quantity; and
  • include the name of the country where the product was made or produced, and where specified, a true description of the goods.

Commerce Trade Descriptions Import Regulations and more information on trade descriptions

Specific requirements for the trade descriptions of watches, clothing, shoes, surfboards, imported medicines and goods from vulcanite, leather, plastic or their imitations

Importers uncertain of any aspect of Customs requirements on labelling/trade description should contact the Customs Information and Support Centre at information@customs.gov.au

Animals and animal products, food and plant imports

All animals, animal and plant products and food imported into Australia must comply with quarantine requirements (to address concerns about animal and plant health) and with the Imported Food Program (to address concerns about food safety).

Australian legislation ensures that all imports of animals, animal and plant products and of food comply with the quarantine conditions for their import. You can check the import requirements for a commodity by consulting the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF’s) Import Conditions Database (ICON) and search the ICON database. To satisfy quarantine requirements it may be necessary for importers of certain products to obtain an Import Permit. There may also be other quarantine prerequisites such as requirements to perform particular treatments (for example fumigation) on products.

For more information on Australian quarantine requirements, contact your nearest DAFF office.

Imported food must also comply with relevant provisions of the Food Standards Code. Food entering Australia is subject to legislation which requires imported food to be inspected and controlled using a risk-based border inspection program called the Imported Food Inspection Scheme, which is administered by DAFF. Under the scheme Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) provides risk assessment advice to DAFF on the level of public health risk associated with certain foods. DAFF is responsible for inspecting and sampling imported foods to ensure they comply with the Food Standards Code.

To be legally offered for sale in Australia, all imported foods must comply with relevant food regulations of the Food Standards Code. The Code can be consulted on line. For more information on the Food Standards Code, you should contact Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Other goods subject to import controls

The Australian Government controls the import of certain other goods into Australia (other than animals, animal and plant products and food). The controls either take the form of:

  • an absolute prohibition, which means that you are not allowed to import the goods in any circumstances, or
  • a restriction, where you need to have written permission in order to import the goods.

The following provides an indicative list of products subject to import controls, as well as names of the relevant Australian authorities to contact to obtain further information about the control and, in the case of restricted goods, the contact details to use to apply for permission to import. The permission to import must be obtained prior to the goods arriving in Australia:

More comprehensive information on goods which are prohibited or restricted

The following list provides information on some important issues which need to be understood prior to exporting goods to Australia:

June 2013