$120,000 fine for serious biosecurity breaches

A Brisbane company and its director have been fined a total of $120,000 for biosecurity breaches associated with the transport and storage of imported uncooked pig meat during 2014 and 2015.

The case was heard at Brisbane District Court last week with the director fined $20,000 and placed on a three year good behaviour bond. The company was also fined $100,000.

They were found guilty of 76 separate offences relating to “dealing with landed cargo in quarantine” contrary to s44B(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908.

The company was required to transport the imported containers directly to an approved arrangement site or to the processing facility of the importer, to ensure effective biosecurity control was maintained.

It was identified that the containers were instead being stored at a non-approved site and in contravention of directions issued by the department.

These actions could have exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.

Pig meat can carry foot and mouth disease, which could cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade if it was to arrive here.

It can also carry African swine fever (ASF) which has no known cure. While ASF is harmless to humans, it is currently spreading throughout Asia and Europe and is a major threat to our $5.3 billion pork industry.

Biosecurity directions are issued for a reason. Importers and those within supply chains must comply. The department welcomes the strong penalties handed down by the court.

It sends a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity conditions will not be tolerated.

For more information on biosecurity, visit agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity.​

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