6 August 2021
Who does this notice affect?
Stakeholders in the import and shipping industries—including operators and persons in charge of aircraft and vessels, masters of vessels and airline pilots, and crew.
What has changed?
There has been a significant increase in the number of infringement notices being issued to industry participants in the airport recently, especially shipping captains and maritime crew who are flying into Australia to meet departing vessels.
It is vital that everyone entering Australia declares goods of biosecurity concern, including meat (eg salami, sausages, pork chops, steak, jerky, biltong, bak kwa, meat pies, chicken salad or even a ham sandwich), seeds, fruit and vegetables. Failure to do so is likely to result in an infringement notice, and possibly visa cancellation.
Following the enactment of the Biosecurity Amendment (Traveller Declarations and Other Measures) Act 2020, biosecurity officers can now issue infringement notices up to the maximum amount of 12 penalty units ($2,664) from 1 January 2021 to travellers who fail to declare goods or classes of goods known to pose a high level of biosecurity risk.
Infringement notice amounts have been prescribed by amendments to the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 by reference to a new determination made by the Director of Biosecurity listing goods or classes of goods that will attract new penalties. The current determination is the Biosecurity (2021 Infringement Notices) Determination 2020; it is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.
International travellers who breach the Biosecurity Act 2015 by not declaring high-risk biosecurity items, including uncanned pork or beef, may now also have their visas cancelled immediately by the Australian Border Force at the airport.
Initially the biosecurity-related visa cancellation ground applied only to short‑term visitors and holders of a particular transit visa. However, from 1 January 2021, it also applies to international students and holders of temporary work visas (including maritime crew).
If a person’s visa is cancelled, they are refused entry into Australia and held in immigration detention pending removal from Australia. They are unlikely to be eligible to apply for another Australian visa for up to three years.
Fourteen visitors have had their visas cancelled under the biosecurity-related visa cancellation ground since 1 October 2019.
The department requests the assistance and support of industry participants to highlight the importance of understanding biosecurity requirements, especially the need to make true and honest declarations about biosecurity risk goods when arriving in Australia.