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Reduced disposal timeframes for unclaimed imported goods

This article was published via by Border Operations


From 1 July 2022, the Australian Border Force (ABF) will introduce a shorter holding period for the disposal of imported goods that have not been claimed by the importer.

​​Operators holding goods that have not been entered for home consumption (and are required to do so under the Customs Act 1901 (Customs Act) may seek approval from the ABF to dispose of the goods once two calendar months, starting from the second working day after importation, has passed.

Similarly, the ABF may give permission to dispose of goods abandoned at a customs place (for example, a wharf, airport, port or depot) after two calendar months from when the goods were found at the customs place. In some cases, permission to dispose of abandoned goods may be given within the two calendar month period.

The reform has been introduced in response to industry feedback for a simpler, more streamlined approach to unentered and abandoned goods at the border. The ABF has implemented the changes in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said the change would be a great benefit to operators of customs depots and warehouses, who often handle large quantities of unclaimed goods at the border.

“These goods are often abandoned due to commercial disputes, importer insolvency or because they can't get customs clearance. Rather than pay return shipping costs for the goods, the importer often walks away, leaving industry to handle their disposal," said Commissioner Outram.

“This is a common-sense reform that simplifies border processes and cuts costs for industry. Two months is ample time for an importer to claim their goods, while also reducing border and biosecurity risks to the community from uncleared goods."

For depot operators, the reduction in the timeframe will mean that almost all unclaimed imported goods can be disposed of without first having to remove the goods to a warehouse under section 77P of the Customs Act.

Consistent with existing arrangements, once the two-month period has passed, industry operators may be able to donate suitable goods to charity, sell the goods to recover their costs, or destroy, recycle or re-export the goods.

For further information about this change and how it may affect your business, go to:

Media contact: Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2211.​

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