Quarantine and transfer of goods

The safe shipping of samples and chemicals is important not only to preserve the integrity of your goods but to protect Australia’s animal, plant and human health. To this end, it is paramount that the applicable local, state, federal and international laws are followed.‚Äč

Getting Started

Prior to making any decision to import, export or transfer animal, plant or biological materials you should review the Federal Government's Department of Agriculture (formerly AQIS, DAFF, DAWR, and DAWE) Biosecurity website, the SA State Government's Biosecurity SA website and the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.  These agency websites contain detailed and current information on quarantine and transportation restrictions. 

If you intend importing or exporting animals or genetically modified organisms or sensitive biological agents then ethics and/or biosafety approval must be obtained.


For further information contact either your Research Group Leader, Manager:Technical Services or Biosecurity Officer.

If you require further assistance contact the UniSA Biosafety Officer:

Research and Innovation Services
Mawson Lakes Campus


Material Transfer Agreements For Imports and Exports: Almost all non-commercial institutions, and some commercial companies such as ATCC and CellBank Australia, require a signed Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) before shipment. Check with the sender if they require a signed MTA.

A UniSA Research Group Leader or Academic Unit, Institute or Centre may require a signed MTA from the recipient of a commidity which is intended to be exported from UniSA. For enquires about UniSA MTA agreements: research.contracts@unisa.edu.au.


Recording Non-Commercial Imports and Exports

Each research unit should have a database into which all non-commercial goods imported or exported are recorded. (1)

Records for imported goods should include:

  • quarantine entry number (where applicable)
  • name of the supplier
  • import permit number or Dept Agriculture in vivo approval number (where applicable)
  • description of the materials
  • date the material is received or exported
  • location
  • records of any derivatives and additional cultures/material or substance grown from the original material subject to quarantine
  • where applicable, quantities (e.g. kg, litres) of goods received, destroyed and in storage
  • batch number (where applicable)
  • proposed research and analysis details
  • details of any special treatments
  • method and date of disposal/destruction of goods subject to quarantine and any direct or indirect derivatives
  • method and date of waste disposal/destruction
  • comprehensive details of any breaches of goods subject to quarantine from the facility

These records are to be retained for at least 18 months following receipt of goods. In the case of PC3 Genetically Modified Microorganisms, retain records for a minimum of 3 years. (2)

(1) Department of Agriculture Quarantine Premises Criteria
(2) Gene Technology Act


Dependent on your importing activity you may require:

  • An Import Permit before you can import the commodities.
  • Storage of the imported commodities in a Approved Arrangements.
  • OGTR Licence to import genetically modified organisms, such as GM plants or respiratory infectious GM viruses.

For further guidance on importation requirements and import permits: Importing


Regardless of whether you are exporting goods to the institution next door, interstate or overseas, there are regulations you need to abide by.

For guidance on export permits and export of controlled goods or technology: Exporting page