I just received a notification from the Department of Agriculture, Animal Import Operations ( formerly DAFF, formerly AQIS) :
New import conditions when applying for an import permit for your dog or cat come into effect from 2 December 2013. Under the new conditions the minimum post-arrival quarantine stay will be reduced from 30 days to 10 days. [my bold]
The applications will apply to animals entering the country after 3 February 2014.
Note that there are special arrangements for animals coming from New Zealand which are yet to be published, and that the period of 10 days is a minimum. The starting point and preparation duration of the animal pre-export are major factors in determining eligibility for that minimum stay.
The FAQ states under “What are the key differences between the old and the new import conditions?” that there is a new category system for approved countries that hints at a relaxation in the rule that your pet had to stay in one country for 6 months prior to export. Now it seems they are free to move between other equal status countries with respect to rabies-free status. I’ll try to find out more.
At the moment I can’t find anything on their website which states which countries are in which category now, aside from New Zealand as Category 1.
I would post some more helpful links but since most Australian departments change their name with every new government, their website/email domain names change and are hopelessly broken for long periods due to poor site design. DAFF had not fixed the old AQIS references before changing to DOA (..ahem…) which further compounds the problem. It's very hard to keep up with official directives when they're buried on a website that can't make up its mind what department it belongs to.
Despite the department’s continuing struggles to clearly communicate its identity or policies, this is very good news!