By Shane Gallagher

We are going to have a quick look at Australian customs. Not the another shrimp on the barbie kind but the border security kind, the type of customs that can make your immigration to Australia a difficult and even impossible process if you aren’t careful.

If you are planning on shipping your goods from Ireland to Australia, be sure to avoid disappointment and plan ahead in regards to what the Aussie Government will allow into the country. Don’t end up on an episode of border security trying to explain why your raw food products should be allowed into the country. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to Australian Customs as they have a strict set of prohibited items that may slow down your shipping time if included.

A good rule of thumb is to leave any animal products across the pond. Whether it is a fur coat or homemade shell jewellery, Australia is very strict about foreign animal products. (I had a candle made from beeswax get picked up.)

A few more animal related products to keep an eye out for are:

  • Any animal skinned clothing, including wool
  • Pet Food and Vetenary Medicine
  • Bird Feathers

As well as animal products, plant products are a usually a big no-no when shipping things into Australia. While some items are allowed, they must be checked for disease and fumigated by the Department of Agriculture which comes at a fee.

Something as simple as a homemade wicker basket can cause issue at the border so be sure to make sure you take special consideration for the following:

  • Furniture or Decorations made from untreated wood
  • Anything made from Banana plants
  • Organic Christmas Decorations
  • Pot Pourri. As well as other dried flowers
  • Coconut Shells

Apart from illicit items, which are the same in both Australia and Ireland, plant and animal products are the main source of concern for Australian Customs. Knowing this, just keep a keen eye for any remains of animal or plant materials being carried by your other items.

Be sure to give all your outdoor equipment a good wash before you pack it up, not only for customs but as well for general hygiene throughout transit. Things like tents, sporting equipment and shoes can hold on to materials that Customs deems dangerous to bring into the country.

The best way to understand what to bring and not to bring is to think why the strict bio-security in place. As I’m sure you know it has to do largely with the unique Australian ecosystem and its vulnerability to foreign organic objects. These objects and items can cause serious problems for native flora and fauna.

It’s best to think when you are packing does this item have the potential to introduce things to Australia that have been there before. For example, in the case of bee’s wax, the big worry is the Varroa Mite. This colony destroying creature ravages bee colonies across the world and Australia’s less resistant native honeybee is especially susceptible to their attack. Make sure that the most dangerous thing you are bringing into Australia is yourself.

Apart from these items there are others that are a red flag when it comes to Australian Customs, so be sure to keep up to date with their website for anything you aren’t sure about. These tips should help you from causing any delay for fumigation or inspection, but as I said, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so give their comprehensive list a look here