Importation of Kava
From 26 June 2007, the existing regulations on importation of kava were strictly enforced with the effect that commercial importations of kava were no longer allowed except for medical or scientific purposes.
Links to information and guidance for importers and exporters
Incoming passengers who are over the age of 18 years are allowed to bring 2 kg of kava into Australia in their accompanied baggage.
Frequently asked questions about restrictions on the importation of kava
What changes have been made to the import arrangements for kava?Consistent with existing regulations set out in the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, the importation of kava will only be permitted for medical and/or scientific purposes.
The potential for diversion of such kava to non-medicinal or non-scientific uses will be assessed and monitored.
Recognising that kava has traditional ceremonial and cultural uses for people of South Pacific Islander descent, the existing approval that allows for the import of up to 2 kg of kava in the accompanied baggage of an incoming passenger (aged 18 years or over) to Australia will continue.
Why have these changes been implemented?The action was taken in response to concerns that the abuse of kava was contributing to negative health and social outcomes in some Indigenous communities.
Can I apply for more permits to import kava?From 25 June 2007, import permits will only be issued for medical and/or scientific purposes.
Can I import kava without a permit?Incoming passengers, 18 years or over, may bring up to 2kg of the root or dried form of kava in their accompanied baggage when entering the country. Under any other circumstances importation of kava without a permit issued by the Office of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health is an offence under the Customs Act 1901 and subject to prosecution.
I use kava for cultural purposes. How can I get supplies of kava?Kava for cultural use can only be brought into the country in the accompanied baggage of an incoming passenger entering Australia. Any incoming passenger aged 18 years or more entering Australia from overseas can bring up to 2 kg of kava (in root or dried form) into the country as part of their accompanied baggage.
Note that products listed or registered under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 cannot be imported via this mechanism.
Why has the allowance for 2 kg of kava in accompanied baggage been retained?This practice has been maintained to reflect the cultural significance of kava use by people of South Pacific Islander descent.
I want to import therapeutic products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration that contain kava or kava raw material for manufacture of approved therapeutic products or for scientific purposes. How do I legally import kava for this purpose?Kava in any form is a prohibited import and in accordance with the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 you must hold a licence and a permit issued by the Office of Chemical Safety before importing it for medical and/or scientific purposes. You will be required to substantiate the approval status and/or use of the imported material and any permit may be subject to conditions on the custody or use of the substances. You are advised to contact the Office of Chemical Safety before you import kava.
You may contact the Office of Chemical Safety at email@example.com for further information or to obtain application forms to import kava for medical and scientific purposes.