Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Transporting dangerous goods in NSW

What are dangerous goods?

Dangerous goods are substances and articles that pose an acute risk to people, property and the environment due to their chemical or physical properties. Dangerous goods are classified under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code) and United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria.

How do I know if my goods are dangerous goods?

Goods are treated as dangerous goods if they are labelled as such, though small containers may not be marked this way. To determine if a product is a dangerous good, you can:

  • check its label
  • check its shipping or transport documents
  • check the product's safety data sheet (previously called the materials safety data sheet)
  • check with the manufacturer or supplier of the product
  • check if the product is listed in the dangerous goods list of the ADG Code (and is not excluded by a special provision detailed in column 7 of that list), or
  • have the products tested to the classification criteria of the ADG Code or UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.

NSW dangerous goods transport legislation

In NSW the relevant legislation for dangerous goods transport is:

The Act appoints the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and SafeWork NSW as competent authorities to administer the legislation.

The EPA regulates the on-road transport of dangerous goods while SafeWork NSW regulates activities prior to transport, including correct classification, packaging and labelling. The transport of dangerous goods by rail is regulated by the Independent Transport Safety Regulator on behalf of the EPA. These three agencies undertake regulatory activities under a memorandum of understanding. Both the Act and Regulation are based on national model legislation and refer to the seventh edition of the ADG Code.

The above legislation controls the transport of all dangerous goods except:

Dangerous goods controls

See these guides to the requirements for transporting dangerous goods:

For further information on transporting dangerous goods by road and rail in NSW contact the EPA by email at or write to:

Hazardous Materials Unit
PO Box A290
Sydney South NSW 1232.

Selling Dangerous goods online

Dangerous goods sold online from e-commerce websites such as eBay and Gumtree must comply* with the relevant legislation and the ADG Code and it is the shipper’s responsibility to ensure they are transported lawfully. Sellers consigning dangerous goods need to:

  • Ensure the goods are classified correctly
  • Ensure the goods are packaged correctly for transport
  • Ensure the goods are labelled correctly
  • Provide a dangerous goods transport document to the transporter

Online sellers of dangerous goods are required to engage a courier/transport company that transports dangerous goods in accordance with the ADG Code.

Note that Australia Post prohibits the transport of a large number of articles/substances classified as dangerous goods, you can view the Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide on their website.

* Very small amounts of dangerous goods in individual consignments are exempt, in accordance with Clause 6 (2) (a) of the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014 and table of the ADG Code (Edition 7.5). 

Transporting chemicals of security concern

The National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern contains practical tips for industry, including transporters, to assess and reduce their chemical security risks. Good security is good for business. Not only does it protect valuable stock and reputation, but by making your business secure you are helping to keep Australia safe.

Dangerous goods authorities

Other jurisdictions and agencies administering legislation for transporting dangerous goods:

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Page last updated: 09 March 2017