Do you know about these new penalties for travellers who don’t declare high-risk biosecurity goods?

Australia has strengthened its biosecurity laws with new increased penalties.

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This applies to travellers who fail to declare high risk biosecurity goods at the Australian border.

“It is important for all incoming travellers to correctly declare food, plant material and animal items on their incoming passenger card,” notes the Department of Home Affairs webpage.

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People must remember that these biosecurity laws protect Australia from overseas pests and diseases that threaten the environment and local industries.

What diseases are we talking about?

Diseases like African Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease are highly contagious and would have severe consequences if introduced into Australia.

Biosecurity controls at Australia’s borders minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and protect our $32 billion agriculture export industries as well as our unique environment, native flora and fauna, our tourism industries and lifestyle.

From 1 January 2021, according to the Department of Home Affairs, the following visa holders may be liable for cancellation of their visa if they breach the Biosecurity Act:

  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400)
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403)
  • Training (subclass 407)
  • Temporary activity (subclass 408)
  • Working Holiday (temporary) (subclass 417)
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) (closed to new applications)
  • Work and Holiday (temporary) (subclass 462)
  • Skilled – Recognised Graduate (subclass 476)
  • Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482)
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
  • Student (subclass 500)
  • Student Guardian (subclass 590)
  • Maritime Crew (subclass 988).

These rules already apply to Visitor visas holders.

DIBP may cancel your visa if you have:

  • knowingly provided false or misleading biosecurity-related information on incoming passenger cards;
  • knowingly provided a biosecurity officer with false or misleading documents;
  • failed to answer a biosecurity officer’s questions about goods or provide written information about goods requested by a biosecurity officer; or
  • failed to comply with the directions of a biosecurity officer in relation to the movement of goods.

DIBP notes that a decision to cancel a temporary visa on a biosecurity ground will take into consideration:

  • the seriousness of the breach,
  • the potential impact on Australian business and agriculture, and
  • the individual circumstances of the traveller.

For more information visit the Cancelling a visa.

Before travelling to Australia, check what you need to do by visiting:

Learn more about Biosecurity basics here: