5 Things You Need to Know About Shipping Household and Personal Goods to Australia

Are you planning to move your aging parents to live with you in Australia and need to ship their personal effects? Or, have you inherited a household full of precious items in another country that you would like to ship to Australia? Shipping personal effects or household goods to Australia comes with a set of rules you should be fully aware of before deciding to bring them into the country.

Australian quarantine regulations are amoungst the strictest in the world because of biosecurity. Protecting the country’s fauna and flora is a number one environmental priority and international shipping companies are aware of these requirements. Booking shipping container fumigation services is essential if you want to pass the stringent quarantine laws. 

Before packing a shipping container in another country to bring household goods or personal effects into Australia, keep reading! 

5 Things You Need to Know About Shipping Household and Personal Goods to Australia

1. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a Real Threat 

If you haven’t heard of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) before reading this article, now is the time to discover what all the fuss is about. The BMSB is a pest that poses a real threat to Australia’s biodiversity and can have a detrimental effect on the agricultural sector if it gets out of control. 

The BMSB is a native species of Asia and since the 1990s has been found in over 40 countries worldwide. One of the ways this pest makes it way into countries such as Australia is through shipping containers by taking shelter in vehicles and household goods. 

Stringent BMSB seasonal measures are put in place to target goods being shipped in from risk countries to protect Australia’s biodiversity and food security. These measures include mandatory treatment and random inspections. Depending on whether your goods are classified as high-risk or not, fumigation takes place offshore before arrival. 

2. China and the UK Have Been Listed as Emerging Risk Countries

If you’re planning to ship household goods or personal effects from the UK or China, there’s a real possibility you’ll need a fumigation certificate for your container before it’s released. Target risk countries include United States, Portugal, Austria, Canada, France and Switzerland.  

Inspection and fumigation automatically take place for any shipment coming to Australia from one of the 40 target risk countries. International shipping companies will advise on the best fumigation approach when you book your container through them. 

3. Certain Goods are Classified as Target High Risk for BMSB

The following goods are classified as target high risk for BMSB:

  • Wooden items
  • Ceramic products
  • Glassware
  • Carpets and other textile-type floor coverings
  • Iron and steel items
  • Tools and cutlery of base metal
  • Electrical machinery and equipment
  • Vehicles

This list isn’t exhaustive and it’s possible that many of your personal effects or household goods will potentially be categorised as high risk for BMSB. If non-target risk goods are packed in the same container holding high-risk items they’ll be subjected to random inspections or mandatory treatments.   

4. Avoid Packing These Items for Shipment Into Australia

Knowing what to avoid packing in your shipping container destined for Australia will save you a lot of hassles and angst when the goods arrive in the country. Quarantine officials will look out for the following goods and will destroy them at your cost: 

  • Lawn mowers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Barbecues
  • Dried flower arrangements and potpourri
  • Christmas decorations made from conifer pinecones, dried holly or other plant matter

While some of these items may hold sentimental value, shipping them to Australia is a waste of time and money. You’ll never see them again!

5. What You Need to Know About Antique Furniture

If you’re inheriting your grandmother’s vast collection of antique furniture, you may be wondering if you can bring it into Australia. Inspecting it for bug damage before loading it into a shipping container will give you an indication of whether it’s going to need fumigation or not. But, the Australian quarantine inspectors will make the final decision for you and insist on fumigation before releasing it if they decide it’s a high risk for BMSB. And, this will be at your cost!

Final Thoughts

Shipping household or personal goods into Australia requires complying with the country’s stringent quarantine policy. For goods coming to Australia from target risk countries, you’ll need a fumigation certificate to clear them for release. This can be obtained before or on arrival in Australia. No goods will be released until they’ve been scrutinised and approved by Australian quarantine officials. 

Working with a local and reputable shipping container transport and logistics company will ensure that your shipment follows the necessary regulations for Australia. If licensed to carry out fumigation, they can handle this aspect and then transport your goods to their final destination when released. All you need to do is check what can be shipped to Australia!