Importers face new quarantine check fees

Countryman
The West logo

The Department of Agriculture and Food is reminding importers of seed, plant materials, animals and other biosecurity risk materials of across-the-board quarantine inspection charges from July 1.

Department border biosecurity director Greg Pickles said the charges would impact on private importers who had previously not been charged for quarantine inspections.

"Commercial importers have long been charged for quarantine inspections of risk materials imported from other Australian States," Mr Pickles said.

"Charging for inspections for all imports levels the playing field and has been implemented because the new Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) doesn't differentiate or discriminate between commercial and private risk creators.

"The strict inspection regime will help ensure we maintain Western Australia's high biosecurity status to protect our agriculture industry, natural environment and lifestyle and remain free of many pests and diseases found in other parts of Australia and the world."

The BAM Act and Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 (BAM Regulations) came into effect on May 1 this year.

Under BAM Regulations, charges are being applied for quarantine inspections, assessments, examinations, tests, analyses, treatments, searches, monitoring or control measures made, conducted or provided under, or for the purposes of, the Act.

From July 1, a minimum charge of $56 per consignment will apply to all inspections carried out on items imported from other States for commercial purposes and non-commercial purposes.

The fees and changes are detailed in the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Fees and Charges) Determination 2013, published in the Western Australian Government Gazette of May 3.

Mr Pickles said in order to minimise the impact on private importers, interstate exporters (suppliers) had been provided the option to enter into a special arrangement and accept inspection charges on behalf of private importers, where individual consignments were received at the same premises on the same day.

"Such an arrangement would enable Quarantine WA to treat the import as one consignment and charge accordingly, eliminating individual charges to each consignee, which the interstate exporter could include in the product price," he said.

"Eighty-nine interstate suppliers have taken the opportunity to have special charging arrangements to minimise the impact on their clients."

Quarantine WA will continue its surveillance of mail and parcel centres to prevent the introduction of risk materials to Western Australia by post.

Fines of up to $5000 could be imposed on people who illegally import quarantine risk materials by post.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails