On 11 December 2019, Agriculture [Quarantine] advised that effective 01 January 2020 that

  • Air Full Import Declarations will increase from $33 to $38 and
  • Sea Full Import Declarations will increase from $42 to $49

Full Import Declaration [FID] charges are a flat fee charged per customs entry; these charges are for goods valued over $1000 AUD. They are not the same as Agriculture [Quarantine] inspection fees which are charged when the goods are inspected by Agriculture. A customs broker does all of the biosecurity assessment before lodging the FID.

On my calculations, air declarations will increase by approximately 15% and sea declarations by 17%

In 2018, there were:

2,336,347 Air Full Import Declarations [FID’s]
1,691,654 Sea Full Import Declarations [FID’s]

My calculations reflect that Agriculture [Quarantine] will gross new revenue of approximately $23,523,313

2,336,347 x $5 [increase] $11,681,735
1,691,654 x $7 [increase] $11,841,578

But, let’s not forget that Self-Assessed Clearances [goods under $1,000 AUD] and goods that enter via the postal network [parcel post] do not incur any increase.

It is in my opinion that any levy should be placed on the risk instead of a blanket increase.

I also believe that goods that arrive via the postal network which requires a 100% check should have an increase on the declaration fee [as the risk is higher and the labour involved is higher]. 

Air cargo poses less of a risk than sea freight [as sea freight has higher volumes].

A few questions to ponder:

If packing declarations [which are required for sea freight cargo] is a productive risk mitigating tool — then why do sea freight declaration charges need to increase by $11 Million?

If storage declarations [which are required for sea freight cargo that has been fumigated] is a productive risk mitigating tool — then why do sea freight declaration charges need to increase by $11 Million?

This extra $23 Million will not provide better document processing services with Agriculture and this levy will only continue to increase over time.

As a side note — last week the Government advised that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment and Energy will merge [to save money].


About Peter McRae

Peter McRae is a Certified Customs Specialist in Canada and the USA. He is also a Certified Trade Compliance Specialist in Canada. With 20 years industry experience, McRae runs a successful customs brokerage that he founded in Australia in 2000. Platinum® Freight Management is a leading independent customs brokering and freight forwarding company operating in Australia and with international offices, including New Zealand and soon Canada.

In 2015 McRae was named one of the top Australian customs brokers at the annual Shipping and Maritime Industry Awards.

With his extensive experience, McRae guides clients, from individuals to SMEs and large businesses, through the complex and little understood Customs system for importing and exporting.

McRae holds a Masters of International Customs Law and Administration as well as a Masters of International Revenue Administration through the University of Canberra.

He has taught Customs Brokering at Australia’s TAFE education institution for nine years and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security through Charles Sturt University.

Platinum® Freight also runs professional industry workshops to educate businesses about Customs processes.