Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos

Asbestos imports & exports have been banned to and from Australia since 31st December 2003. It is prohibited to import asbestos or goods containing asbestos into Australia unless a permission or exemption has been granted. Australia Border Force (ABF) need to be certain that products being imported into Australia do not contain Asbestos. At any time, ABF can request additional information from the importer to determine whether goods are prohibited imports.


It is the responsibility of importers to take appropriate action to ensure that they do not import goods that contain asbestos into Australia. Importers need to have sufficient knowledge of their goods back to the point of manufacture. This due diligence needs to be done before prior to shipment. Due Diligence to assure the goods being imported do not contain asbestos can be:

  • Testing Certificates and/or Laboratory Reports – (from a NATA-recognised equivalent laboratory through a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA).)
  • Supply chain Documentation – Contracts stating goods must not contain asbestos, assurances that asbestos free goods intended for the Australian market are stored in their warehouse in such a way that they don’t get mixed up during order picking with goods intended for other countries that have a small tolerance towards asbestos (eg, USA and China). This due diligence should be regularly reviewed with your supplier as supply chains change over time.


The overseas laboratory reports must indicate that no levels of asbestos were detected. Exactly 0.00%. As some countries allow small levels of asbestos (i.e. <0.1%). Australia have a strict 0.00% tolerance. Importers can import samples into Australia (with prior Ministerial permission) for testing or undertake testing overseas. This can only be carried out at an Australian Laboratory accredited by NATA.


If the goods are found to contain asbestos, they will be seized at the border and the importer may be subject to penalties or prosecution. The penalty for importing asbestos or products containing asbestos is:

  • 3 times the value of those goods, OR
  • 1000 penalty units (which currently works out to be $210,000)

Whichever is greater.


Please ensure you undertake your due diligence with your overseas suppliers prior to purchasing your goods. Please read the following link to the Border Force Notice regarding asbestos

 ACN 201721


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