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Alerts provide information about significant changes to import conditions. Keep informed of alerts by following individual import cases.

Upcoming changes to import conditions for bulbs imported for growth in open quarantine

Effective from 19 June 2020

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) has completed an operational review of the import conditions for bulbs imported for growth in open quarantine. The review recommended numerous improvements to the BICON cases for bulbs to ensure that conditions remain current, easy to understand and fit-for-purpose.

The following changes will be made to import conditions in July 2020:

  1. For certified bulbs: updating documentary requirements for the Naktuinbouw (NAKT) and Bloembollenkeuringsdienst (BKD) supplier’s documents in response to revised documentation issued in the Netherlands.

  2. For certified bulbs: a new condition that the class of bulbs must be listed in either the NAKT or BKD supplier’s documents or the phytosanitary certificate.

  3. Mandatory nematicide treatment will no longer apply for Narcissus spp. bulbs.

  4. Conditions for bulbs imported with peat packaging are being removed from BICON cases but can be requested by importers via the permit application process. Measures to manage foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) risks will apply for bulbs imported with peat from a FMD country, regardless of the total weight of the peat within the consignment.

  5. Hot water treatment options to manage the risk of Narcissus fly and Xylella fastidiosa will no longer be available in BICON and require a case-by-case assessment by the department.

  6. Import conditions allowing fumigation treatment for bulbs prior to on-arrival departmental inspection will be available to importers.

Who does this alert affect:
Importers of bulbs for use as nursery stock, brokers, Assessment Services Group, Client Contact Group Canberra and Inspections Group.

Certification of bulbs under the NAKT and BKD schemes

To improve our assurance that only certified bulbs that meets minimum bulb requirements are exported to Australia, class requirements now must be certified by NAKT and BKD.

As per the BICON alert issued on 5 March 2019, the format and name of NAKT and BKD certificates has changed. Bulbs produced and certified under these schemes will need to be accompanied by one of the following types of supplier’s documents:

Nematicide treatment for Narcissus spp. bulbs

The department has reviewed the nematicide requirement in place for Narcissus spp. bulbs and determined that this requirement is no longer applicable for this pathway.

As a result, Narcissus spp. bulbs will no longer need to be treated at the time of planting with a nematicide.

Bulbs in peat packaging

Following consultation with the bulb importing industry, it was identified that bulbs are rarely imported with peat packaging. The import conditions for bulbs with peat packaging will therefore be removed from relevant BICON cases, to ensure that import conditions remain as simple as possible.

For importers who are still interested in importing bulbs in peat packaging, the department will continue to consider, and issue import permits for bulbs in peat packaging on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, to better manage the risks associated with FMD, all consignments imported with peat from a FMD country will need to comply with mandatory certification requirements. These requirements are to provide assurance that the peat was inspected to confirm freedom from contamination prior to export, and that peat was sourced from an area free from FMD. These conditions will apply regardless of the amount of peat packaging present within the consignment.

Hot water treatment options to manage Narcissus fly and Xylella fastidiosa

Feedback from bulb importers highlighted that hot water treatment options are rarely utilised by the importing sector to address key biosecurity risks on relevant pathways, such as Narcissus fly and Xylella fastidiosa. As a result, this treatment option will be removed from BICON and assessed through import permit applications on a case-by-case basis by the department. Our assessment will include confirming that importers are aware that the treatment process may result in damage to the product, and that importers have made arrangements with an approved arrangement site who can conduct hot water treatment.

Import permits:
The department will re-issue (vary) permits in July 2020 to reflect the changes outlined under points 1 – 5, at no cost.

Importers seeking to import bulbs subject to fumigation prior to on-arrival department inspection (point 6) must submit an application to vary an existing permit or apply for a new permit. These applications can be submitted from 15 July 2020, and are subject to departmental fees and charges.

Further information:
Please contact Plant Import Operations on 1800 900 090 or email

This Alert applies to the following Cases:

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