Australia: What you can and can't ship

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Australian coastline
For most people, shipping your household effects to Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so it is important you do your research before your belongings are loaded into their container. The thought of this may be daunting, however with the help of a reliable shipping company, like us, all your worries will disappear. Here at Pickfords, we'll ensure that the contents of your consignment are fully compliant with Australian customs regulations and that you have all the required information to ensure a smooth shipment to Australia. This may seem like a really small, picky detail but it will make all the difference when your goods reach their destination and begin the customs clearance process. 

To limit any bumps in the road, here is everything you need to know about what you can and can't ship to Australia so you can plan ahead of time and focus on the more enjoyable parts of your move.

Australia's prohibited and restricted items

Australia has their own unique ecosystem which means they are understandably strict when it comes to their customs regulations. As well as the obvious prohibited and restricted items, there are also a few things on the list that could effect you. If items are included in your consignment that do not comply to the rules they will be destroyed at your expense.

Below we have listed Australia's restricted and prohibited items, however please note that this is not an indicative list. For more information please feel free to contact us, or you can find all information in Australia's FIDI customs guide

Restricted items

Australia's restricted items may need to be declared or there may be a maximum quantity that you can import. There are also special requirements for some restricted items, if they are considered to be a threat to the eco-system. 

  • Alcohol. If you are aged 18 years or older, you can bring in a maximum of 2.25 litres of alcoholic drinks duty-free. If you bring in more than the duty-free allowance, you will be required to pay duty on all your alcohol, not just on the excess. It is best to declare your alcoholic drinks as penalties may be charged if this has not been done. 
  • Animal horns, teeth and bones. These items are allowed into Australia but only on the condition that they are clean and free from any sort of contamination. If any contamination is found they will either be treated, exported or destroyed and this will be at your expense. 
  • Feathers (including down jackets, sleeping bags, pillows and quilts). Items that contain feathers are only allowed into Australia if the items have been manufactured for personal use. You are only allowed to bring in up to 10 featured items and if these requirements aren't met the items could be destroyed. 
  • Fishing, camping and sports equipment. Recreational and sporting equipment tends to be used outside and therefore importing these items into Australia could be harmful to the ecosystem. Before travelling to Australia, these items will need to be cleaned thoroughly to limit the transmission of harmful diseases. During customs clearance these items will need to be inspected to verify that they are clean and bone dry.
  • Leather goods, hides, furs and skins (including purses, shoes, wallets and belts). These items are allowed into Australia if they have been fully tanned and will be inspected to ensure they are free from contamination. Rawhide items are also permitted but on the condition that they are for personal use and are free from adhering animal tissue, other contamination and evidence of decay. You can import a maximum of 10 rawhide articles and these will also be inspected upon arrival. 
  • Mosquito zappers. You are allowed to import mosquito zappers into Australia as long as they have a protective grid and a battery capacity of 6 volts or less. If you do not adhere to these restrictions you could loose your goods, receive large financial penalties and even face prosecution. 
  • Slingshots. Slingshots with an arm brace are prohibited items in Australia, however you are able to bring in normal slingshots and hunting slings without arm braces. You can only import a slingshot with an arm brace if you have state/territory police approval and a state/territory licence. 
  • Wooden items. Household goods made out of wood are only allowed into Australia if they are free from bark, insects and signs of insect damage e.g. borer holes. If there are any signs of contamination, they will not be allowed into the country. All wooden items must be declared on arrival and inspected. 

Prohibited items 

As well as restricted items, Australia also has a list of prohibited items that you will need to study before packing your consignment. If you attempt to bring these items into the country you could loose your goods, face prosecution and will be liable to pay any financial penalties that may apply. 

  • Automatic knives. Automatic knives such as flick knives, switchblades and assisted opening knives that have a folded blade or recessed into the handle are banned from entering Australia. These knives open suddenly when pressure is applied to a button, spring or switch. As well as this, any parts or training items associated to automatic knives are also prohibited. If necessary, the police/government can issue import permits to except you from this rule and any items that are used for 'specified purposes', such as filming a movie, will also be allowed to be imported. 
  • Fake designer goods. You are not allowed to bring in any counterfeit goods into Australia. These are items with a fake brand name and fake designer clothing, handbags, shoes, cosmetics, electronics and perfume. There are no exceptions to this rule. Any counterfeit items found in your consignment will be confiscated and destroyed at your expense. 
  • Live plants. Any form of living plant can not be imported into Australia as they could be contaminated with diseases which could have a detrimental effect on the countries unique ecosystem. You may be able to apply for an import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, however conditions are required to be met, in order to be exempt from this rule. 
  • Pirated DVDs. If you have pirated copies of movies or TV shows, you will not be allowed to bring these into Australia. Copies of box sets are also prohibited. If these goods are found in your consignment during inspection, they will be destroyed and you will be required to pay the financial penalties. 
It is important to note that any items could be refused entry into Australia if they have not been cleaned properly to avoid contamination with animal or plant materials, insects or soil. Some items you need to pay special attention to are:

  • Outdoor children's toys e.g. pedal cars, pedal bikes, toy trucks etc.
  • Outdoor furniture, pots and statues
  • Garden tools and equipment e.g. lawn mowers, shovels, rakes etc.
  • Footwear
  • Motorbikes, push bikes and quad bikes
  • Sporting equipment 
  • Barbecues
  • Camping equipment 

It is your responsibility to ensure these goods are thoroughly cleaned before packing. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have put together a detailed list of the items which you should pay special attention to if you are thinking of shipping your goods to Australia. 

By hiring Pickfords as your international mover, you can be rest assured that you will have all the support you need to send your belongings to Australia. In 2022, we were voted 'International Moving Company of the Year' by the Forum for Expatriate Management, so you know your move will be in safe, professional hands. 

If you are ready to get your move to Australia, get in touch with us today. Give us a call or get your quote here.