Applications & Approvals
Investigators wishing to import material from overseas must determine whether they require an Import Permit from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Do I need an Import Permit?
Check the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) which lists the biosecurity conditions under which various commodities may be imported into Australia.
If an Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, BICON will specify this.
Investigators should refer to this database regularly to keep up to date with any announcements and import policy changes by DAWR.
- How do I get a permit?
You need to register with BICON. The University has a multi-user account.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive an email back directing you on how to register with BICON.
The import application form requires that you identify the Approved Arrangement that you propose to use for your imported materials, should they need it. List all potential AAs, otherwise you will either require a transfer approval or need to pay an additional fee to amend your import permit.
Note that in some areas of the University, due to the registration requirements imposed by DA, the lab across the corridor could be a separate AA and thus require a transfer order!
- Do I require any other approvals?
Investigators should check whether other permits or approvals are required as a condition of their import permit and ensure that the appropriate approvals and/or permits are obtained prior to commencing the work.
Note that separate permits are required for in vivo work. See Maintaining Compliance > In Vivo Approvals for details.
- What are the conditions of my Import Permit?
When you receive your Import Permit, read it carefully to ensure you understand all the conditions. The Import Permit is generally valid for two years and may be used any number of times during this period (unless specified otherwise).
The Import Permit will dictate conditions under which the product may enter Australia. It is important that you read these conditions before importing. You should clarify immediately with DA any anomalies, uncertainties, inconsistency, error or untenable condition to ensure that the permit will allow you to undertake all aspects of the proposed work. Such matters could include:
- specified treatment conditions that would jeopardise the viability of your sample(s) for the proposed work
- errors in nomenclature on the permit which could cause problems at the border when samples do not 'match' permits
To arrange DA clearance of imported goods, the Import Permit and all associated documentation must be presented to the DA regional office in the state/territory of entry.
You need to meet the conditions on the Import Permit at all times to ensure your ongoing compliance.
- Do I need an Approved Arrangement to work with my imported material?
The import permit will specify if your goods need to be received and/or maintained in an Approved Arrangement facility and if so, which one(s) (ie. the ones you listed on your application).
Note that you are only permitted to hold and use biosecurity goods in the premise(s) listed on your permit. Any additional facilities you wish to use must be added to your permit conditions.
Note also that DA will stipulate a Biosecurity Containment (BC) class and level at which the biosecurity goods must be kept.
You must ensure that the facility you propose to use is 1) listed on your permit and 2) at the correct QC class and level for your goods.
An Approved Arrangement (AA) facility is specifically registered by the University and approved by DA to receive biosecurity goods of a high risk nature and for the storage, use or further processing of products that are subject to biosecurity
An Approved Arrangement (AA) facility is specifically registered by the University and approved by DA to receive biosecurity goods of a high risk nature and for the storage, use or further processing of products that are subject to biosecurity.
- Approval for Registration of an Approved Arrangement
To gain approval for registration of an Approved Arrangement (AA), the facility must meet certain conditions to assure DA that the risk of any biosecurity breach is minimal. In the case of plant, animal, microbiological and invertebrate research facilities, DA requires that premises comply with the DA AA Conditions of Approval and the conditions in the relevant AA Class Criteria and also the design and construction aspects of the Australian/New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 2982:2010 (Laboratory Design and Construction) and AS/NZS 2243.3:2010 (Safety in Laboratories).
There are several classes of AA and also facility types, depending upon the nature of work undertaken in the facility. DA is currently putting in place a new approval and registration process for AAs that includes new biosecurity containment criteria and new conditions. Late in 2005, DA released new criteria for Class 5 AAs and new criteria was issued for Class 7 AAs (which now includes Animal and Insect biosecurity Holding Facilities)
There are four levels of containment established by DA. These are in ascending order of the stringency of containment requirements, which reflect the level of risk:
- Biocontainment Level 1 (BC1)
- Biocontainment Level 2 (QC2)
- Biocontainment Level 3 (QC3)
- Biocontainment Level 4 (QC4)
Imported goods which have been allocated a particular biosecurity containment level must either be retained in a facility at that allotted level (eg. BC2) or within a facility which is at a higher level (ie. BC3 or BC4).
In all cases the biosecurity guidelines (see Containment Criteria below) need to be adhered to and that personnel who have undertaken the biosecurity Training are present when biosecurity material is handled.
The classes and types of facilities of relevance to the University include:
Class 5 Analytical and Research Laboratories
- for research, analysis and/or testing of imported biological material including microorganisms, animal and human products and soil
- includes laboratories, animal facilities, plant laboratories and plant growth rooms
Class 6 Plant Biosecurity Facilities
- for any standard plant house which is to be used for biosecurity of nursery stock (post-entry plant biosecurity)
- closed biosecurity facilities include glasshouses, polyhouses, igloos, tunnelhouses, etc (excludes screenhouses)
Class 7 Animals
- for the importing and/or holding/breeding and biosecurity containment of live insects prior to their authorised release from biosecurity
- includes Insectaries
- for the import and holding of Aquatic vertebrates
- for the importing and/or holding of rodents
- See the Resources section for a list of relevant Biosecurity Containment (BC) Criteria
- Co-Location of Approved Arrangement Facilities
Co-location of several AA facilities has been undertaken by the University of Adelaide. This is being done primarily with minimisation of cost and administration in mind.
'Sibling' (co-located) facilities listed under one parent AA are treated individually for compliance purposes. Non-compliance at one will not adversely affect other facilities co-located under the same 'Parent' facility.
- Do I Need an Approved Arrangement Facility?
DA identifies the biosecurity risks for commodities and, where appropriate, recommends an appropriate level of containment. Not all goods that are imported will require containment in an AA facility. Check the conditions very carefully on BICON for the requirement in this regard.
If you require a facility to be registered as a an AA premises, please contact the Research Compliance Officer .
- Facility Registration Numbers & Transfer Approvals
It is most important that when you list AA facility details on an application for an import permit that you make sure you list ALL of the registrations that apply. If you propose to take material between facilities, check whether you need an DA transfer approval first.
- Refer to Maintaining Compliance > Transfer of Material between Approved Arrangement Facilities for details.
If you have any other queries please contact the Research Compliance Officer.
- Third-Party Assessments
For new AA facilities, a third party assessor will survey aspects of the laboratory relating to physical containment. Such parameters as air and water flows, conditions of walls, floors, ceilings, benches and cupboards will be assessed. For BC2 risk level facilities and above, a Third Party Assessor's certificate is required.
The University has completed third party assessments, and received certification (and subsequent DA approval) for numerous AA facilities.
For queries related to this process please contact the Research Compliance Officer.
Investigators should ensure that at all times their work with biosecurity status materials complies with the specific conditions listed on their Department of Agriculture (DA) import permit.
In addition, investigators should also ensure that all the mandatory records, labelling of imported material, evidence of disposal, etc as required by DA are maintained.
Need Help? Contact Us
Please contact the Research Compliance Officer for queries regarding your biosecurity compliance obligations.