Plants and Plant Products

Plant Export Operations provides export inspection and certification services for plants and plant products, including grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, hay and straw, timber, logs, woodchips, bark, dried fruit, seeds, cut flowers and foliage (fresh and dried), nursery stock, processed plant products and miscellaneous plant material.

Plant Export Management System and National Documentation Hub

If you export plants or plant products from Australia, or work in the plant export industry, you need to know that the documentation process is changing.

The Plant Exports Management System (PEMS) and The Plant Exports National Documentation Hub are being established to make the documentation processes for plant exports more efficient.

For more information on the National Documentation Hub check Information for industry and exporters or Information for Authorised Officers.

More information on PEMS for industry, exporters and Authorised Officers

Export process – a guide to exporting plants and plant products

To export plants and plant products there are a few steps exporters will need to complete prior to export.

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Export permit

If your product is one of the prescribed goods listed below or if the importing country requires a phytosanitary certificate, an export permit is required to be issued by a department authorised officer prior to the export of the goods.

If the importing country does not require a phytosanitary certificate and the goods are prescribed an export permit is still required prior to the export of the consignment.

Prescribed goods are specified in the legislation as:

  • prescribed grain (any seed or the following grains: barley, canola, chickpeas, dried field peas, faba beans, lentils, lupins, mung beans, oats, sorghum, soybeans, whole vetch and wheat)
  • fresh fruit, vegetables (including mushrooms, sprouts)
  • plant products (nuts, fodder, straw, timber products, nursery stock, tissue cultures, cotton and other grains and seeds not listed above) that an importing country National Plant Protection Organisation requires a phytosanitary certificate or any other official certificate for.

For further information on obtaining export certification see Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Registered establishments

All prescribed goods for which export certification is required must be inspected in a registered establishment and in accordance with the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Order 2011 prior to export.

For further information regarding Registered establishments see Step 4 of Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Importing country requirements

Before contacting your regional Plant Exports office check importing country requirements to see if your product is permitted to be imported and to find out about any special conditions that may be required. Plant Export Operations publishes known importing country requirements through the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) Plants database.

Please check MICoR Plants to see if importing country requirements are listed.

If importing country requirements are not listed in MICoR Plants, export may be permitted but the conditions are unknown to Plant Exports. You should then contact the National Plant Protection Organisation (National Plant Protection Organisation) of the importing country to obtain an import permit or official written notification advising the conditions of importation.

If you have an import permit or notification from the importing National Plant Protection Organisation please contact Micor Plants.

In addition to possible importing country requirements, some exports of unprocessed wood (including woodchips) may require licences under the Export Control Act 1982. Further information on these requirements can be found on the Exports of Unprocessed Wood (Wood Export Licensing) page.

For further information on importing country requirements see Step 2 of Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Phytosanitary certificates

Phytosanitary certificates are official government to government certificates certifying that plants and plant products:

  • have been inspected according to appropriate procedures; and/or
  • have been tested according to appropriate procedures; and/or
  • are sourced from particular pest free areas; and/or
  • are considered to be free from the quarantine pests or diseases specified by the importing country.

A phytosanitary certificate will only be issued if required by the importing National Plant Protection Organisation.

For further information on phytosanitary certificates see Step 5 of Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Supporting documentation

If the importing country conditions require an Additional Declaration (Endorsement) or details of treatment to be certified on the phytosanitary certificate, supporting evidence may need to be presented to the Authorised Officer at the time of inspection. It is the exporters’ responsibility to comply with the requirements and to provide appropriate supporting evidence.

Supporting evidence may include:

  • laboratory analysis results
  • crop, field or orchard inspections records
  • treatment certification
  • Annual Rye Grass Toxicity test result (hay and straw only)
  • area or production freedom declarations

For further information on supporting documentation see Step 3 of Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Submitting export certification forms

How to submit export certification forms

Submit your export certification forms electronically via the electronic document system (EXDOC) or manually by email or in person to the Regional Plant Export Documentation Hub.

For Phytosanitary certificates and other Government documents issued electronically a fee of $16.00 will be charged.

For Phytosanitary certificates and other Government documents issued manually a fee of $100.00 will charged.

Submitting export certification forms manually

Manual export certification must be correctly completed and presented to the department's Authorised Officer at the time of inspection. All required documentation and supporting evidence must be presented with the phytosanitary certificate form (this may include an import permit). Following a phytosanitary inspection by a Authorised Officer, who will ensure that the consignment passes inspection and complies with the importing country requirements and Australian export legislation, a Authorised Officer will sign, stamp and issue the phytosanitary certificate.

Electronic documentation (EXDOC)

The department uses an electronic export documentation system known as EXDOC. It allows clients to electronically apply for export certification including export permits, phytosanitary certificates and other export certification.

EXDOC has been employed by Plant Export Operations since 2000 and is accepted by all of Australia’s trading partners.

EXDOC replicates the manual process of applying for export certification through accredited commercial interface software.

EXDOC automatically generates phytosanitary certification and other export certification required by importing National Plant Protection Organisations.

For further information on EXDOC certification for plants and plant products please contact us at EXDOC Plant Products.

Third party software suppliers and agents

To enable electronic documentation to be generated with your exporter details, you must be registered with EXDOC as an exporter. Download the EXDOC Exporter registration form and email it to the address on the form.

If you are interested in raising electronic documentation and printing export certification either in a office or your office, you will need to purchase a department accredited third party software package. See EXDOC Software Suppliers for a list of accredited software agents.

Please note, once you have purchased software, each person responsible for export certification activities will be required to undergo EXDOC functionality training and accreditation. For further information please contact EXDOC plant programs.

Alternatively, you can employ the services of an agent or freight forwarder who has already undergone EXDOC training and is accredited to create electronic documentation for plant exports. For further information regarding agents and freight forwarders please contact EXDOC plant programs.

Inspections

How to make an inspection appointment

To arrange an inspection of your consignment, you should submit a request for plant exports inspection appointment form to the relevant Regional Documentation Hub.

Please note, if your product is prescribed or the importing country requires a phytosanitary certificate, the goods must be inspected in a registered establishment and in accordance with the Export Control (Plants and Plant Products) Order 2011 prior to export.

Inspections are valid for 28 days. Under Australian legislation, if your product has not been exported within the 28 days following inspection it will need to be re–inspected.

Plant export operations updates and general information

Plant Export Operations issue Industry Advice Notices to inform exporters of changes and updates affecting the export of plants and plant products.

You can register through the online Stakeholder Registration form to automatically receive Industry Advice Notices relevant to your business or you can check the Industry Advice Notices page for updates.

Service charter

The Plant Export Operations Service Charter outlines the service standards we provide, who our clients are, what our role is, what your rights are and how you can help us improve and deliver our services. We strive to provide and maintain a high level of service by stating necessary lead times for the functions related to export inspection and certification.

Fees and charges

Plant Exports Operations, incorporating Horticulture Exports Program and Grain & Seeds Exports Program, provides services to industry under full cost recovery arrangements. Costs are recovered through fees and charges that are imposed for the complete range of plant export inspection and certification activities. This includes time spent on preparation and completion of export inspections, audits, treatment monitoring and registrations, and the issuance of all export documentation. In some cases costs are also recovered by means of a quantity charge per tonne.

Helpful tips to export your product overseas

If your product is prescribed or the importing country requires a phytosanitary certificate, the goods must be inspected prior to export.

Inspections are valid for 28 days. Under Australian legislation, if your product has not been exported within the 28 days following inspection it will need to be re–inspected.

Ascertain the importing country requirements prior to export. Either obtain an import permit or official notification in writing from the importing country’s government stating the importing country requirements.

A phytosanitary certificate is a government to government plant health certificate and should not be used for commercial negotiations.

Prescribed goods must have an Export Permit issued by the department prior to the goods departing Australia.

Exporting plants and plant products: A step–by–step guide for Australian exporters.

Information released under the FOI Act

The department received a request (FOI 2013/14-34) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for copies of documents which discuss the local practice of AQIS inspection officers in NSW and QLD when inspecting and verifying the fumigation of chickpeas prior to export. A date range of 01 October 2007 to 30 November 2009 was stipulated.

In response, ten documents were released to the applicant on 17 December 2013:

Note – any variation of practice identified in fumigation between the regions may be associated with differences in the requirements of foreign or local authorities at the time of fumigation.


The department has received a request for access to departmental work procedures, manuals, guidelines etc outlining what a departmental officer must have done when inspecting chickpeas before export to India between 2005 and 2009. In response, six documents have been released under section 23(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).