High price for concealing foreign fruit, seeds and nuts

A man who was intercepted at Cairns Airport in 2016 attempting to smuggle fruit, seeds and nuts taped to his abdomen was last week fined a total of $1600 at Tully Magistrates Court.

Acting head of compliance at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Wayne Terpstra, said that Allan Clive Neilson was subject to inspection when he arrived in Cairns from Papua New Guinea on 20 June 2016 when the concealed goods were discovered.

He made a full admission to illegally importing the goods for planting and growing, and did not have an import permit for any of the goods.

“We take our role protecting Australia's $60 billion agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries from biosecurity risks very seriously,” Mr Terpstra said.

“It only takes one bad apple—foreign fruit could bring in exotic fruit fly that could devastate our $9.3 billion horticulture industry.

“That’s why there are strict biosecurity arrangements to control these type of imports.

“The fruit imported required an import permit and the nuts and seeds are required to be botanically labelled and presented for inspection on arrival into Australia.

“Everyone has a role to play to uphold Australia’s biosecurity—we need people to do the right thing and not bring or send things to Australia that could result in pests and diseases arriving in the first place.

“We concentrate our efforts on those who intentionally try to thwart our systems, this prosecution is another example of the serious consequences for offenders.

“Travellers carrying foods, plant material or animal products in their luggage must declare them on their incoming passenger card.”

Be biosecurity aware: visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website for more information on what can’t be brought or mailed to Australia.

For information about what can and can’t be sent to Australia go to agriculture.gov.au/travelling.

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