Australia’s long-standing commitment to border integrity and public health has resulted in the establishment of new laws limiting the importation of cats and dogs. These actions are carefully planned to strengthen our country’s defences against the potential spread of the rabies virus while also protecting the safety of our beloved pets.

The recent implementation of regulations governing the importation of cats and dogs into Australia, especially for pets returning from trips abroad, has sparked a significant and heated discourse. One major point of contention is the retroactive nature of these newly established restrictions. These regulations were introduced to address concerns about disease transmission and biosecurity threats, aiming to protect both domestic animals and the broader ecosystem.

However, pet owners and breeders are expressing deep concerns about the impact on animals already imported under previous rules. They argue that these pets should be exempt from the new laws, as they have already been living in Australia without incident. The primary concerns revolve around fairness and practicality. Retroactively applying stringent regulations could burden pet owners with unexpected expenses, such as mandatory health checks, vaccinations, and quarantine periods. Breeders worry that these rules might disrupt their breeding programs and affect their livelihoods.

Applying strict laws post factum could cause pet owners to incur unforeseen costs for things like required vaccines, health exams, and quarantine times. Breeders fear that these regulations may sabotage their breeding programs and have an adverse impact on their livelihoods.

A thorough step by step guide is listed on the Australian Government website but a generalised version has been layed out below for you.

  • Dogs and cats are required to adhere to all conditions specified in the import permit.
  • Failure to comply with the import permit conditions may result in various consequences at your own expense, including:
    • Extended post-entry quarantine
    • Additional testing
    • Exportation
    • Euthanasia.
  • Upon arrival in Australia, dogs and cats must undergo a minimum quarantine period of either 10 days or 30 days at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility, depending on the provided identity evidence (view the full guide on the Australian Government website).
    • The current importation fee is $1265 AUD. Additional fees may apply for veterinary care and other treatments if required.
  • Veterinary procedures must be performed by a government-approved veterinarian or an official government veterinarian.
  • All testing must be conducted in an approved country at a laboratory recognized by the exporting country’s government.
  • The department cannot provide advice on disease treatments. If your dog or cat tests positive for an infectious disease listed in the import conditions, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian for guidance.

The Australian government has shown admirable sensitivity and compassion in response to legitimate concerns about the new policies. The authorities have recognised the anguish caused by these regulations and have taken attempts to resolve these concerns. Concessions have been extended for existing applications, demonstrating the government’s commitment to a balanced approach that prioritises both pet safety and the wellbeing of Australian citizens. Finding the correct balance between protecting public health and ensuring fairness in the importation process is a difficult undertaking, but one that the government is dedicated to doing.

Just as skilled migration has aided Australia’s prosperity, these new pet importation restrictions aim to maintain our country’s unique biodiversity and public health. It’s a path towards a more secure future in which our pets may coexist peacefully and our borders stay secure.