The domestic car market in Australia has all but disappeared over the last decade. This has prompted many people to look overseas when it comes to their choice of transportation, particularly if they are not overly enthralled by the choice on the showroom floor. If you're thinking along those lines, you may be wondering what is involved, how easy it is to achieve this and what it's going to cost. What are the key points to take into account?


Firstly, you need to make sure that you are complying with various government regulations. Those who are seeking to import a vehicle into this country for commercial gain may have to get in touch with the Department of Infrastructure to get an import approval. In any case, there are many regulations set down by the customs authorities and you need to be aware of them.


In particular, older vehicles may require additional clearance, especially those that have air conditioning systems which may contain regulated substances. Certain vehicles are suspected of containing asbestos and those are prohibited. You always need to ensure that the incoming vehicle is free of any contamination and is as clean as possible, as it will have to go through biosecurity control before it can be released from customs.


Any vehicles imported must be labelled properly to ensure relatively smooth passage at the port of the arrival. You need to include the country of manufacture (and origin if different), with a full description of the "goods," the address of the sender and your address. These labels must be in English, which is important to remember if you are importing from Japan.

Tallying up the Total

Don't underestimate the costs involved, so that you don't get a surprise at the end. In addition to the cost of purchasing the car itself and shipping, you will have to pay duties and tariffs at the port of arrival. These can include processing charges and import entry costs, duty taxes and (potentially) goods and services tax. Bear in mind that the customs duty can be, on average, around 5% of the value, so it is a significant consideration. GST, if payable, will be around 10%.

Finally, you will have additional costs to make sure that the vehicle meets the registration and insurance stipulations set down by the state or territory that you'll be living in.

Getting the Finer Detail

Have a word with a specialist to make sure that you can import cars without a problem.