Export from Australia of hand sanitiser, face masks and other infection control items are temporarily prohibited effective 30 March 2020.

The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Amendment (COVID-19 Human Biosecurity Emergency) Regulations 2020 (Cth) (Regulation) amended the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (Cth) to temporarily prohibit export of goods that are key to minimising the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Australia.

Under the Regulation, disposable face masks, disposable gloves, disposable gowns, goggles, glasses and eye visors, alcohol wipes and hand sanitiser all become prohibited exports from Australia.

There are exceptions that permit commercial and non-commercial exports of these goods including by:

  • persons leaving Australia taking a reasonable quantity for personal use (other non-commercial exceptions apply to sending to a relative for their own use and export by a humanitarian body);
  • manufacturers of the goods; and
  • persons in the ordinary course of their business where they are registered under the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cth) and have an Australian business number.

Parties looking to rely on an exception should check they satisfy all conditions. In particular, these parties should not be looking to export by post.

The prohibition under the Regulation will apply while the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020 (Cth) (Declaration) is in force. For context, the Declaration was made by the Governor-General on 18 March 2020 under section 475 of the Biosecurity Act, and provides that a human biosecurity emergency exists in Australia.

The Declaration is in force for 3 months (unless it is extended).

Thank you Christie Wilson, Law Grad for her assistance in preparing this alert.


If you would like to draw from other global resources developed by Baker McKenzie on COVID-19, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Centre. Authors: Anne L. Petterd and Elisabeth White