Importing and exporting live plants and animals

Importing live animals and plants

Species that may be imported live into Australia are included on the list of specimens taken to be suitable for live import (the live import list). Species not included on this list cannot be legally imported into Australia.

There are two parts to the live import list.

  • Part 1 contains species that can be brought into Australia without a permit from the federal environment department.
  • Part 2 contains species that require a permit from the department before being permitted for import into Australia. Conditions may be attached to the permit.

The inclusion of a species on the live import list allows that species to be imported as either a whole organism or as reproductive material.

Other laws controlling the import of live specimens

Every import into Australia has the potential to introduce new pests and diseases.

Department of Agriculture - Biosecurity

Department of Agriculture Biosecurity has established quarantine procedures under the Quarantine Act 1908 to minimise this risk.

Contact Department of Agriculture Biosecurity before considering importing any specimen to find out if it is allowed to imported under the Quarantine Act 1908, and if so, what other permits are required.

Information on the Department of Agriculture Biosecurity procedures and requirements for live import can be found on their web site

State and territory lists

Every Australian state and territory has its own list of specimens it will and will not allow within its borders.

Contact your state or territory authority

Before submitting an application to the Department, you should contact the relevant authority in your state or territory to determine if they will allow you to keep your proposed specimen.

Exporting live animals and plants

Export of live native Australian animals is not permitted for commercial purposes.

You may be allowed to export live native animals for non–commercial purposes such as research, education, exhibition travelling exhibition or conservation breeding programs or for particular household pets.

Export of non–native live animals and plants depends on the species of plant or animal:

  • If the animal or plant is from a species on Appendix I of the CITES list, permits for export may be granted only in limited circumstances.
  • If the animal or plant is from a species on Appendix II or III on the CITES list, it is likely to require an export permit before you can export it.
  • Non–native animals or plants that are not on the CITES list do not need export permits. You may, however, need to get an import permit from the destination country.

Customs and quarantine

Exports and imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by Department of Agriculture Biosecurity).