- 1. What is an import consent?
- 2. Overview of the legislative provisions
- 3. Objective
- 4. When will we grant import consent?
- 5. What does ‘imported’ mean?
- 6. Period of import consent
- 7. Can the import consent be withdrawn or varied?
- 8. What happens if I have imported a product without consent?
- 9. What happens if the import consent is not complied with?
- 10. Publication or disclosure
- 11. Additional considerations
The APVMA may give consent in writing to a person who wishes to import a chemical substance for which import would otherwise be an offence under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992.
This page explains how import consent may be applied for, the records you will need to keep, and how the APVMA will consider an application.
1. What is an import consent?
The APVMA can give written consent for the purposes of section 69B of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 (Admin Act) to allow a person to import a chemical substance to Australia, the import of which would otherwise be an offence under this provision. Import consents are issued in a standard format and have a unique reference number. Any consent given will relate to a specific chemical substance, person and date. We will not give consent covering multiple imports, or where the description of the substance is insufficient to identify the product or its constituents. An import consent may be issued subject to conditions.
2. Overview of the legislative provisions
Section 69B of the Admin Act basically provides that a person must not import into Australia or arrange, on behalf of another person who is neither a resident nor carrying on a business in Australia, import of:
- an active constituent for a proposed or existing chemical product that is neither an approved active constituent nor an exempt active constituent
- a chemical product that is not a registered chemical product, a reserved chemical product or an exempt chemical product
unless the person has a reasonable excuse or written consent from the APVMA.
It is an offence to do that which is prohibited under s 69B.
Section 69B(3A) of the Admin Act provides that the APVMA’s consent may be subject to any conditions that the APVMA thinks appropriate.
Section 69(3B) of the Admin Act provides that the APVMA may impose a condition on a consent to import, by writing, at any time while the consent is in force. Section 69EA of the Admin Act requires a person who has imported a chemical substance with APVMA consent to keep records about the import for 6 years.
Import consent from the APVMA allows persons to import into Australia certain chemical substances the import of which would otherwise be prohibited (eg, chemical products that are neither exempt, nor reserved nor registered).The requirement to keep records enables the APVMA to establish whether the legislation has been complied with.
We have discretion in determining whether consent should be given, and if so, whether conditions should be applied. We ensure that our use of these provisions is reasonable and in accordance with procedural fairness. We will not issue consent if import has already occurred.
4. When will we grant import consent?
In considering whether it is appropriate to grant import consent we take into account factors such as:
- the identity and composition of the active constituent or chemical product
- the proposed use or fate of the chemical substance
- the proposed date of import (we are unlikely to issue our consent retrospectively)
- relevant international conventions or agreements about chemical substances adopted by the Australian government
- whether an application has been lodged with the APVMA for registration of the chemical product or approval of the active constituent
- whether a relevant APVMA Permit applies to the proposed use of the substance
- the risk of harm (if any) to humans, animal health, the environment, industry or trade that could be reasonably attributed to import of the chemical substance
- the application and any submission provided by the applicant.
5. What does ‘imported’ mean?
We will treat goods as having been imported to Australia once they have landed in Australia or have been brought within an airport or a port for the purpose of landing them in Australia. We will treat goods as imported if they have landed or entered an airport or a port even when they have not yet cleared Australian customs.
6. Period of import consent
We will normally issue an import consent for a tightly defined period that will reasonably allow you to order and receive the chemical substance. Where an APVMA Permit applies we will allow time for import to occur appropriate for the period of activity. The consent that we issue will have a start date and a finish date.
7. Can the import consent be withdrawn or varied?
You should advise us if you become aware that an import consent you have requested is not needed, or if details have changed, during the application process. We can impose conditions at any time during the consent period. If your circumstances change you should let us know so that we can arrange to issue you with a new consent. We will not issue consent if the import has already occurred.
8. What happens if I have imported a product without consent?
If you have imported a product without our consent (and our consent was needed) and you do not have a reasonable excuse, you will have committed an offence under the Admin Act.
You may also find you cannot clear the product through Customs. This means you may not be able to receive your goods. If this happens, we will be unable to assist you.
9. What happens if the import consent is not complied with?
It is important to provide correct information including the reason for the importation when you make your application for import consent. Where consent is given in respect of an import on certain conditions, the consent will only authorise that import to the extent that these conditions are complied with. If the import is carried out in a way that violates these conditions, then s 69B will have been contravened. Where a person contravenes s 69B, we may issue an infringement notice, a formal warning or commence court proceedings for a civil penalty order. It will also be possible to criminally prosecute the person – as noted above, contravention of s 69B is a criminal offence.
It is an offence to provide false or misleading information in relation to applications for import consent.
10. Publication or disclosure
We do not publish details of import consent applications, however, we do publish statistics about consents applied for and issued.
11. Additional considerations
Import of chemical substances to Australia is also subject to a range of other legislation and you may need approval from other agencies. Agencies that we are aware of include:
- Therapeutic Goods Administration
- Office of Chemical Safety
- Office of the Gene Technology Regulator
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Department of Environment
It is your responsibility to check with these other agencies and to check whether there are other relevant agencies not included in the above list.