In Australia, all dealings with live and viable genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including import, are illegal unless authorised under the Gene Technology Act 2000 (the Act).

Authorisation will fall into one of the following categories: To ensure the necessary approvals or authorisations are obtained prior to importation, the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) is working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) especially in relation to GM seeds/grains.

When importing GM seed/grain, or seed/grain that is known to be mixed with any amount of a GM material, the importer is required to notify DAWE. The DAWE permit application form also requires importers to provide details of the relevant authorisation under the Act (e.g. OGTR licence number of NLRD identifier number and name of assessing IBC). To verify authorisations, DAWE and the OGTR may exchange information that importers have provided to either agency.

Information on how to apply for a licence or other authorisation under the Act can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). Importers should be aware that an authorisation may take time and, therefore, it should be sought well in advance of importing.

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