Media Release

Working with industry to manage the 'added extras' of imported new cars

​1 December 2014

The imported car of your dreams may be the vehicle of Australia’s nightmares if it were to become the unlikely carrier of pests and diseases not found on our shores.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said with imported new vehicle numbers predicted to rise, compliance with Australia’s importing requirements has never been so important.

“Australia’s success as a trading nation relies on our ability to claim freedom from many of the pests and diseases found in other parts of the world,” Minister Joyce said.

“In 2013-14 more than 800,000 new vehicles were imported into Australia from the more than 1.1 million new vehicles sold each year.

“To reduce the risk of exotic pests, weeds or diseases, all new and used vehicles imported into Australia are required to be free of soil, mud, insects, seeds and other biosecurity risk material before arrival.

“The increase of imports has required a more targeted look at import pathways for new vehicles in recent years. Prior to export, new vehicles are routinely stored outdoors and can become contaminated with weed seed and other plant and animal contamination when left in holding areas for a long period.”

In 2013, Department of Agriculture biosecurity officers intercepted over 35,000 imported vehicles that required cleaning due to seed contamination.

In response to escalating numbers of contaminated new vehicles landing in Australia, the Department of Agriculture has been working with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and vehicle manufacturers to develop and implement offshore management systems to help importers meet Australia’s stringent import requirements.

“Since the start of this year we’ve seen improved compliance across the vehicle supply chain and an increase in the biosecurity control standards applied to vehicles destined for Australia, but we can’t afford to be complacent,” Minister Joyce said. 

“By knowing their responsibilities, the types of contaminants that may be present on new vehicles, and their removal or control methods, importers will be playing a key role in protecting Australia from pest and disease threats and safeguarding our $41 billion farm exports industry.”

For more information on imported vehicle compliance, visit