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The Pacific

Australia’s Kava Pilot

On 11 October 2019, former Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the Australian Government was stepping up its commitment to the Pacific by launching a kava pilot program. The pilot recognises the deep cultural significance of kava for Pacific Island communities both in Australia and across the Pacific region. Kava is also an important agricultural resource for many Pacific island countries. The pilot also supports broader efforts under the Pacific Step-up to increase stronger cultural and economic ties between Australia and Pacific Island nations.

The pilot consists of two phases:

  • Phase 1 - Increased the amount of kava that incoming passengers (18 years or over) are allowed to bring into Australia in their accompanied baggage from 2kg to 4kg. Phase 1 commenced in December 2019.
  • Phase 2 - Allowing the commercial importation of kava: this phase of the pilot allows for the commercial importation of kava into Australia for use as a food. This phase commenced on 1 December 2021.

To apply for a permit to commercially import kava as a food, visit the Office of Drug Control’s website – Application forms. Guidance material can be found directly next to the kava permit application form.

For further information about the kava pilot, refer to the factsheets below or visit Office of Drug Control.

Former Senator the Hon Zed Seselja - Launch of the Kava pilot


The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted a webinar to explain Australia's commercial kava pilot. A range of speakers from across the Australian Government and related organisations gave presentations and answered questions on the different aspects of the pilot.

Disclaimer: This webinar recording should not be rebroadcasted or used in other media without permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


These factsheets provide basic information about Phase 2 of the kava pilot:

Useful links

Regulation allowing for the commercial importation of kava as a food

Department of Health

Australian Border Force

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)


Pacific Kava Export Industry Overview

Pacific Trade Invest

Kava Pilot Program [PDF 154 KB]

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