Illegal asbestos imports

When prohibited asbestos products enter Australia the Australian Border Force (ABF), work health and safety regulators and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) work together to trace imports and commence remediation.

National asbestos safety alerts and recalls are published below.

Please visit the website of your state or territory's work health and safety regulator for relevant safety alerts in your jurisdiction.

Safety alerts

Information sheets

Recalls/voluntary recalls

Past safety alerts

Enforcement at the Border

Australian Border Force (ABF) is responsible for enforcing Australia's ban on the importation of asbestos. The ABF works closely with the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, who are responsible for issuing import and export permits in limited circumstances.

Protecting Australia from the illegal importation of asbestos means working together. ASEA tracks the issuing and use of permits. Significant work is done by the ABF in countries of origin - including often preventing suspect goods from being loaded for export to Australia in the first place.

When goods reach the Australian border, the ABF assesses them for risk, taking into account known information about asbestos use in countries of origin, at-risk manufacturing industries and prior border detections of asbestos.

The ABF requires importers to demonstrate that they have undertaken adequate risk assessment measures for their goods that are known to be at risk of containing asbestos, or are supplied from countries with asbestos producing industries.

The nature and level of information within the supporting documentation may provide adequate assurance depending on the risk of the goods containing asbestos. Several types of documentation may be necessary to demonstrate a sufficient level of assurance including declarations which state that the goods have nil asbestos content (supported by evidence), test certificate or laboratory report or Material Safety Data sheets.

  • If goods are suspected of containing asbestos at the border the ABF will direct that the goods are tested by a NATA accredited laboratory
  • If then asbestos is detected in goods at the border the goods will be seized as a prohibited import and forfeited.

From 2020, the ABF has provided the Agency with data regarding detection of asbestos at the border, which can be found below.

Questions regarding this data can be directed to

Asbestos detection at the border updates


Energy corporation fined for asbestos importation

The company, which has significant assets in WA, was convicted of two counts of contravening s233 (1)(b) of the Customs Act 1901 for importing a prohibited item, namely chrysotile asbestos, contained in gaskets in a condensate metering skid and two storage tanks in 2012 and 2013. The company was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling $175,000.  

Importing asbestos costs Perth man $14,500 - 17 December 2014

A 50-year-old Australian man has been fined $10,000 and required to pay $4,500 costs in the Perth Magistrates Court for importing asbestos into Australia, Wednesday 17 December 2014.