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Shipping Personal Effects

Taking your personal effects to Australia

If you do not have any furniture or bulky household possessions to take with you to Australia then you can either arrange to ship your goods to Australia by sea (cheapest option) or air (more expensive but quicker) and can either engage an international removals company or a personal effects or excess baggage shipping company.

It is a good idea to make the decision what you would like to take and then engage with a professional company that specialises in shipping to Australia and can advise you on Australia’s customs restrictions and help you with the relevant paperwork.

Many people incorrectly assume that there are greater restrictions to ship your goods to Australia that there actually are and that Australian customs prohibits most furniture and personal effects – the Australian Immigration and Border Protection website can be confusing and the restrictions do change from time to time. It makes sense to work with a reputable shipping company who deal with Australian Customs regularly and can advise you what you cannot take before you dispose of any belongings unnecessarily. It’s important to note that if you are not properly informed, customs can impose additional inspection fees and disposal fees where they need to destroy items that pose a hazard to Australian biosecurity – unexpected and unnecessary expenses when your goods arrive.

Generally, any personal household appliances, furniture, clothing, tools, caravans, trailers, conforming sports and recreational boats and aircraft must have been owned by you for 12 months prior to shipping and can be brought to Australia free from import duty, goods and services tax (GST) or other taxes and charges if you are arriving to live in Australia on a permanent residence visa. Please note that duty is payable on any included alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Commercial goods and motor vehicles (cars, motorcycles or any other motor vehicles or their parts) are not treated as unaccompanied personal effects and require import clearance and may attract import duty, GST or other taxes and charges – your shipping company can advise you on these too.

For ore information on shipping personal effects to Australia, including the details for trusted shipping companies, visit the Shipping Household Effects section of the website.

Tips When You Ship Your Goods to Australia

Sporting equipment used outdoors:

  • Should be thoroughly cleaned, scrubbed, ensuring there are no traces of dirt, grass or foreign matter.
  • Bicycles – scrub tyres, make sure there is no dirt in any grooves. clean chain and rest of bike thoroughly.
  • Pack golf shoes (spikes removed cleaned thoroughly and before replacing) in golf bag for easier inspection by customs.
  • Clean and scrub golf clubs, pay attention to grooves on club heads, ensure no dirt or seeds lodged in them.
  • Check football / rugby boots are clean as per golf shoes above.
  • Pack sports goods together for easy inspection.
  • Tents and camping equipment, make sure pegs are clean and there are no traces or plant matter or dirt on anything.
  • Hiking boots – scrub and thoroughly clean all parts paying attention to soles, ensure completely clear of any dirt, thorns or other foreign objects.
  • Picnic rugs and equipment – check there are no grass particles or seeds anywhere, leave behind if unsure.
  • Fishing equipment – make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned and dry. Throw away anything that has any bait residue (hooks with old bait attached?). Rinse and dry reels, wash tackle box and ensure everything is spotless.
  • Kayaks – make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and all compartments are completely dry.

Garden Tools and Equipment:

  • Clean lawnmower thoroughly, scrub underside to ensure there are no traces of any grass, dirt or foreign objects anywhere. thoroughly wash out and dry grass catcher and chute.
  • Scrub and clean any garden tools ensuring completely free or dirt.
  • Leave any wooden garden items behind, these can be very difficult to clean and therefore may be better off being left (except for garden furniture in reasonable condition – ensure thoroughly cleaned and consider leaving).

We have heard some that people also paint their tools in the belief that this will help show their cleanliness – remember that Customs is very thorough and will inspect them anyway, so main point is to ensure that they are clean.

It is important to note that generally you cannot bring ANY food, plants or plant matter, animals or animal products, or products containing any foreign objects (soil, water, dust, etc.) without customs approval. This means that some furniture, all outdoor goods and tools, animal skins or animal products or items that may contain foreign objects or contamination will be subject to customs inspection.
Australian Customs charges fees to inspect any goods as above that you will have to pay, they will also charge you for any cleaning or treatments necessary to any items as well as the cost to dispose of prohibited or contaminated items – so it pays to be vigilant.

For more information on items of interest, prohibited goods, tips for packing and other biosecurity related issues; please visit the Australian Department of Agriculture’s Website. Australia’s Customs and Border Protection website has more information on Prohibited and Restricted Imports, Unaccompanied Personal effects (bringing your belongings by sea or air) and Information for Visitors.

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