The Australian Border Force (ABF) has issued a reminder to car enthusiasts and private vehicle and parts importers that Australia has zero tolerance for asbestos.
Products with any level of asbestos, regardless of age, are prohibited for import into or use in Australia. It is the responsibility of importers to ensure that imported goods do not contain asbestos.
Since 2003, the Australian Government has prohibited the importation of goods that contain any asbestos, and placed a complete ban on the domestic manufacture and use of all types of asbestos and products containing asbestos. As part of the Government’s asbestos prohibition, the ABF actively targets any products suspected of containing asbestos.
Recently, the ABF has detected asbestos in a number of privately imported motor vehicles and parts, including brake pads and gaskets. Recent detections include a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette (brake pads, water pump and gasket), a 1963 Ford Falcon (gasket) and the brake pads of golf buggies, an electric scooter, a 1954 BAS Bantam motorcycle and a 1971 Mazda RX-2.
It doesn’t matter how old the vehicle is, or what type it is—if the ABF suspects it may contain asbestos, assurances will be sought from the importer to ensure that it doesn’t.
In a number of overseas countries, there are few to no restrictions on the use and supply of asbestos. Local standards in some countries may even classify goods as ‘asbestos-free’ when low levels of asbestos are actually present. Many products containing asbestos can be ordered on the internet and will often claim to be ‘asbestos-free’, even though they have some asbestos content. As a result, asbestos can be unintentionally and unknowingly imported into Australia.  even in new products.
ABF’s activities are not designed to impose undue inconvenience or cost to car importers. Targeting, stopping and testing high-risk goods is an important part of protecting importers and the wider community from the significant dangers of asbestos. The ABF is also focused on ensuring importers are aware of their obligations so the ABF can be assured that goods don’t contain asbestos before they reach Australia.
Goods held at the border for asbestos testing can mean delays and significant costs to importers, including storage of the goods while testing is conducted. The potential for these additional costs can be reduced by ensuring motor vehicles do not contain asbestos before they are privately imported to Australia.
If you are thinking of importing a motor vehicle or part, find out about the assurances you need and requirements for testing for asbestos

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