Effective today (15 June 2020), empty used grape bins or bulk tippers imported into South Australia from an interstate PEZ which are not accompanied by the required biosecurity documentation, will be quarantined at the state border. Reference: Biosecurity SA’s Chief Inspector Biosecurity Notice.

A long standing South Australian grape-phylloxera entry requirement for all used grape bins and containers from a Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ), is that they must be clean and free of plant residues and soil on arrival. These empty grape bins and containers are to be accompanied by one form of proof documentation: either a Plant Health Certificate (PHC) or a Plant Health Assurance Certificate (PHAC), to certify the cleanliness.

Empty bins that have been used to transport horticultural crops that are known hosts of fruit fly, including grapes, present a pathway for entry of fruit fly into the state. The requirement for these used horticultural bins to be certified clean of soil and any residual plant material through a PHC or PHAC was added to Condition 27 in the South Australian Plant Quarantine Standard version 16.1a effective 6 January 2020, and aligns with the existing requirement in Condition 7A for grapes.

As Vinehealth Australia communicated in February 2020, Biosecurity SA granted an amnesty period until 31 May 2020 for a PHC or PHAC to accompany the empty grape bins entering SA from an interstate PEZ. The requirement for these used bins to be clean of soil and plant material always remained.

With the amnesty period now over, all non-certified loads (those not accompanied by a PHC or PHAC) arriving at the state border will be placed under quarantine and directed to be held until either certification can be provided, or until the loads can be inspected (at the cost of the importer) and found free of any grapes, grapevine material or soil.

If you want to import empty used grape bins or bulk tippers from an interstate PEZ into SA, this means:

  • Firstly, you are required to register with Biosecurity SA as an importer, as empty grape bins are a regulated item in SA:
    • if you are undertaking only a single import in a season, obtain a Plant Health Import Certificate as your form of importer registration. Complete the application form at https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/forms.
    • if you are undertaking multiple imports in a season, you need to obtain either Importer Registration (IR01) or Import Verification Compliance Arrangement (IVCA) as your form of importer registration. IVCA includes importer registration and allows businesses to self-inspect and verify consignments. Complete the application forms at https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/forms.
  • Secondly, you must pre-arrange with the sending interstate business, that at the time the empty bulk tipper or load of empty grape bins leaves the sending state, each is accompanied by either a Plant Health Certificate or a Plant Health Assurance Certificate certifying cleanliness from soil and plant material:
    • a Plant Health Certificate is a biosecurity document that can be issued by an interstate Biosecurity Officer who will check that the empty used bins meet the requirement of being clean of soil and plant material and that the bins are being moved from an interstate PEZ.
    • a Plant Health Assurance Certificate is a biosecurity document completed by an authorised person of a business in a PEZ that has gained specific accreditation through their state biosecurity department to inspect and verify the cleanliness of empty used grape bins passing through their business, destined for SA.
  • Thirdly, as an importer of regulated items into SA, you are also subject to meeting Direct Inspection requirements, whereby the items are required to be inspected and cleared on arrival into the state, either by Biosecurity SA or a business holding an IVCA accreditation. Cross-sectoral solutions are being investigated to assist with compliance and updates will be provided.

Reminder: the above requirements are consistent in the new SA Plant Quarantine Standard version 17, active from 21 July 2020.