Importing asbestos into Australia
Permission to import asbestos or goods containing asbestos may only be granted for the purpose of:
- research, analysis or display
- importation of waste from an Australian External Territory for disposal in a state or territory.
A permit for display purposes will likely only be granted where the display is a static public exhibition.
Granting permission to import goods containing asbestos is at the discretion of the decision maker. Applying for a permit does not guarantee that it will be granted.
Goods must not be shipped to Australia until permission is granted in writing.
Exporting asbestos from Australia
Export permission is required for asbestos, and asbestos in certain goods leaving Australia that fall to a description within Schedule 1 of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958. This includes samples being exported, that potentially contain asbestos, to be tested outside Australia.
Granting permission to export goods containing asbestos is at the discretion of the decision maker. Applying for a permit does not guarantee that it will be granted.
Goods must not be transported to the border until permission is granted in writing.
The WHS Minister has the discretion to grant permission for importation and exportation of asbestos. The CEO of ASEA has been authorised by the Minister to grant permissions in some circumstances.
The Australian Border Force's (ABF) website provides more details on import and export exceptions and permissions. See: www.abf.gov.au/asbestos
If you are a current permit holder and are reapplying for a permit, you should go to the ‘How do I apply to RENEW a permit to import or export asbestos’ page.
Information for Australian External Territories (AETs)
If applying from an Australian External Territory, you will most likely need to apply for both an export permit (to leave the territory) and import permit (to enter Australia). It’s best to apply for both at the same time. For more information on this, see the ABF website’s section on the AETs under the heading "Import and export exceptions and permissions".
Frequently Asked Questions
- Please allow at least 60 business days for applications to be processed.
- You should provide comprehensive responses to all relevant questions on the form to avoid delays in processing your application.
- Applicants will need to demonstrate they will comply with all relevant laws including work health and safety, environmental protection and dangerous goods laws and dangerous goods transport laws, including labelling and packaging. A list of relevant laws can be found on the ‘Where can I check the laws’ page.
- New permits can be granted as ‘once-off’ or for up to 12 months.
- Successful applicants will receive a written permit letter containing a permit number. The permit number is provided to the Australian Border Force (ABF) and a copy of the permit must be provided to the ABF at the border if required.
- Complying with all applicable laws, including for importation and exportation, handling, labelling, packaging and disposing of asbestos is a condition of all permits.
- For information on the obligations of permit holders see here
- For laws that may apply to permit holders see here
- A permit amendment will be required before importing or exporting asbestos or materials that may contain asbestos, which are not covered under a current permit letter. See further details below on how to request an amendment to a permit.
- Formal Import Declarations are required for all imports that contain, or may contain, asbestos including samples (see here).
- Formal Export Declarations including the asbestos export permit number and the appropriate Australian Harmonised Export Commodity Code (AHECC) used to describe the goods are required for all exports that contain, or may contain asbestos including samples (see here).
Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the case, the decision-maker can either be the ASEA CEO or the Minister for Industrial Relations.
The decision-maker has discretion to grant permission and can refuse to grant it if they believe safeguards are inadequate to protect health and safety.
- Yes, the decision-maker has discretion to amend a permit.
- Please allow at least 30 business days for a decision to be made on an amendment application.
- Applications to amend a permit can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and providing relevant details.