Importing: the basics

Before you consider importing goods and services, you should try to support local industry by finding a competitive local supplier:

  • Industry Capability Network is a database of possible local suppliers. This service is offered free by QMI Solutions, an organisation closely affiliated with and subsidised by the Queensland Government.
  • Queensland Manufacturing Institute has programs to help local manufacturers implement workforce development strategies, operational enhancements and innovations. QMI links industry with major projects, researchers and technology solutions.


You need to find out if importing is commercially viable for your business. Professional advice from a customs broker can help you understand what freight and handling costs, taxes, insurance and tariffs are involved.


You need to adhere to specific rules and regulations when importing goods into Australia. All goods imported into Australia must be cleared by the Australian Border Force.

Customs can give you information about duties and import regulations, such as import clearance requirements, prohibited goods and import permits. They also have lists of prohibited goods that cannot be imported into Australia and restricted goods that require written permission for importation.

The costs involved depend on the type and value of the goods you import. These may include clearance fees, customs duty, and GST and other taxes.


Strict quarantine standards help protect our environment and agricultural industries. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) must inspect and, where appropriate, treat certain imported products to prevent pests and diseases.

DAFFs import conditions database, BICON (formerly ICON), is a simple and convenient way for you to access information about Australian import conditions for more than 20,000 foreign plant, animal, mineral and human commodities.


The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (which replaced the Trade Practices Act 1974 on 1 January 2011) prohibits businesses from making false or misleading claims about the place of origin of goods.

Learn more about country of origin claims.