The Australian Government has imposed prohibitions on the carriage of air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Yemen and Somalia.
Prohibitions on air cargo that has originated from, or transited through Turkey have also been imposed. This prohibition applies only to electromechanical devices that weigh over 1 kilogram.
Since 11 May 2016, air cargo from Bangladesh has entered Australia if it undergoes appropriate security screening at specific international airports immediately before arriving in Australia. The security screening requirements are consistent with those applied to air cargo departing Australia.
How is the Government imposing the international air cargo prohibitions?
The prohibitions were implemented through a legislative instrument made by the former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development under subsection 65B(1) of the
Aviation Transport Security Act 2004.
Aviation Transport Security (Prohibited Cargo) Instruments
When did the prohibitions come into force?
The Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Yemen and Somalia instruments came into force on Saturday 19 December 2015, and will remain until the instruments are revoked.
The updated instrument for Bangladesh came into force on Wednesday 11 May 2016, and will also remain until the instrument is revoked.
The Turkey instrument came into force on Thursday 26 October 2017, and will remain until the instrument is revoked.
Are the prohibitions consistent across the 6 countries?
Airlines are prevented from carrying any air cargo that has originated from, or transited through Syria, Yemen or Somalia.
Air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Egypt will be prohibited, except for items that are currently exempt from screening under Australian Regulations . These include diplomatic bags and smaller items of international mail.
Air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Bangladesh is prohibited . Unless it has undergone security examination at an approved last port of call before travelling to Australia or is otherwise exempt from examination under Australian regulations.
- The approved last ports of call are: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Guangzhou.
- The approved examination methods are: X-ray, explosive trace detection, or physical examination.
- The exempt items are: mail items under 500 grams, cargo under 250 grams and shorter than 5 mm, live animals, human remains, biological tissues, legitimately prepared dangerous goods, Commonwealth Government articles, and diplomatic bags.
Airlines are prevented from carrying air cargo that is an electromechanical device that weighs over 1 kilogram that has originated from, or transited through, Turkey.
Review of the prohibition
The Australian Government, through the Aviation and Maritime Security (AMS) Division, formerly the Office of Transport Security (OTS), will continue to monitor aviation security developments, in cooperation with our international partners. AMS will provide advice to the Government on adjustments to Australia's air cargo security arrangements as necessary.
Frequently asked questions
Does the prohibition apply to all cargo?
No the prohibitions only apply to air cargo. Cargo sent as sea, rail or land freight is not prohibited.
For Bangladesh the prohibition only applies to air cargo that is not examined at an approved last port of call.
For Turkey, the prohibition only applies to certain goods.
One of my staff is travelling to Bangladesh for work. Can they carry samples back to Australia?
There are no prohibitions on passengers' checked or carried on bags.
I need to send urgent documents to Australia, can I do that?
It depends on the country of origin and the size of the items.
Airlines are prevented from carrying
any air cargo that has originated from, or transited through Syria, Yemen or Somalia.
For air cargo originating from, or transiting through, Egypt and Bangladesh, the Government has granted an exemption for a limited range of items. This includes letter products and small items of cargo, defined as follows:
A letter product is an item of cargo that has all of the following characteristics:
- it weighs 500g or less;
- it contains only flexible items;
- its longest dimension is 360 mm or less;
- its second longest dimension is 260 mm or less;
- its shortest dimension is 20 mm or less.
small item means an item of cargo that weighs 250g or less, and is 5 mm or less in its shortest dimension.
If the cargo meets these requirements, then it can be sent to Australia as air cargo.
Only air cargo that is an electromechanical device that weighs over 1 kilogram that has originated from, or transited through, Turkey is prohibited from being sent to Australia . Therefore documents from Turkey can be sent by air.
What is an electromechanical device?
An electromechanical device for the purpose of the prohibition includes any good that incorporates an electric motor. This could include a whole device or separate components shipped together that, when assembled, constitute an electromechanical device. For example, manufactured goods that incorporate an electric motor in their construction, such as an electric powered sewing machine, would be considered to be an electromechanical device.
My international freight forwarder security screens all air cargo. Can we receive an exemption?
The prohibitions are a legal requirement of the government implemented under specific provisions made by the Parliament. It is not possible for the Department to grant an exemption under the legislation.
All enquiries related to the restrictions should be directed to the Aviation and Maritime Security Division, in the Department of Home Affairs at: firstname.lastname@example.org.