Thank you for your enquiry of 8 April 2019 about mitigating the risk of asbestos within a vehicle you intend to import to Australia.

I note your intention to be compliant with the Australian asbestos border control and applaud your attention to detail in this matter.

The Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) administers the policy for the asbestos border control, and the Australian Border Force (ABF) enforces that border control.  Neither Home Affairs nor the ABF retain technical expertise on the location of asbestos within particular makes and models of vehicles.  The advice provided both directly in responses such as this, and in publications, is general in nature and reinforces the need for the importer to take appropriate steps to gather evidence, in order that the ABF can be assured that the vehicle being imported contains no asbestos.

Notwithstanding this, I note your action in seeking expert technical advice from Jaguar UK about the risk of asbestos in the vehicle. This is a far safer avenue than relying on non-expert information available through internet forums. Advice provided by Jaguar UK about manufacturing processes should be authenticated by an appropriate business area representing the organisation, and not just an authorised mechanic. This is more likely to be accepted as assurance when assessed by the ABF. The information should be specific to the extent that it states:

a.       Where in the vehicle asbestos was incorporated in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts/components at the time of manufacture.

·         This will provide you with an authenticated list of risk parts to mitigate (remove/replace with non-asbestos alternatives), and

·         if you do remove or replace risk parts you should retain all work records to be able to present to the ABF as part of your assurance.

Or alternatively:

b.       That no asbestos was intentionally incorporated in OEM parts/components at the time of manufacture, nor OEM parts were manufactured from raw materials that might have been naturally contaminated with traces of asbestos.

·         Parts/components manufactured with mineral materials are a risk for naturally occurring asbestos. While the asbestos may not have been intentionally incorporated into the manufacturing process, some parts, when tested, can reveal an asbestos content.

·         The European Union does not regulate asbestos that was not intentionally added [in manufacturing], and has exceptions in place for asbestos installed before 1 January 2005.

·         Evidence of the use of non-asbestos alternatives in the manufacturing process will mitigate the asbestos risk.

Used vehicles that have been in the USA and subject to local maintenance are of risk for having parts/components installed that contain asbestos. The US Government ban on the use of asbestos in manufacturing contains exemptions for specific goods, including certain vehicle parts.  Further, the US Government definition of asbestos containing material (ACM) means: any material containing more than 1% asbestos.  The effect of this is that testing in the USA does not require the reporting of asbestos detected when the estimated content is below 1% of the sample.  If you do decide to proceed with sampling and testing of risk parts prior to shipment, ensure that the laboratory report contains all relevant information that meets Australian requirements. Further information on sampling and testing is located on the ABF website asbestos information page.

After-market parts may also present a risk for asbestos content when they are produced in a country that allows the use of asbestos in manufacturing. The maintenance records of the vehicle you are intending to import should be scrutinised to identify any parts that have been replaced with asbestos-risk non-OEM parts. Given the age and country of origin for the purposes of the importation, I advise you to have the vehicle appropriately inspected. Assurance about non-asbestos OEM parts will not be relevant to the assurance unless proven to still be in place.  

The list of possible items which might contain asbestos, attached to your email, appears to have originated from the Home Affairs/ABF fact sheet: Managing the risk of asbestos when importing a motor vehicle. I recommend you familiarise yourself with this information if you have not already done so.

Avenues are in place to submit your collected evidence to the ABF prior to shipment, that will allow for an assessment of your assurance that no asbestos is in the vehicle being imported.  I strongly advise you to discuss the importation and your attention to the matter of asbestos with your Licensed Customs Broker in Australia, who can facilitate this assessment with the ABF.

Your application for the Vehicle Import Approval (VIA), granted by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (DIRDC), does not impact on the asbestos border control.  The VIA is granted under different Commonwealth legislation and should not be interpreted as acceptance that your vehicle does not contain asbestos. Please be aware that new legislation will commence in December 2019 that affects the importation of vehicles into Australia.  Further information is available at the DIRDC website.

I trust this information answers your questions, and again applaud your forward thinking in this matter.


Joshua Hutton

Director – Environmental Goods and Product Safety