Essential biosecurity information for military forces

​​​Australia is in a unique position free from many of the animal and plant diseases affecting other countries. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – in cooperation with other jurisdictions, industry and the community – manages biosecurity onshore, at the border and offshore to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country.

What you need to do

If you are carrying any goods of plant or animal origin (including all food, MRE/Ration Packs and drinks) or items that are damp/moist/wet and have been exposed to overseas freshwater streams/lakes you MUST declare these items. When you declare such items, you will be directed to a biosecurity officer who may inspect them to ensure they are free of contamination and/or infestation. In most cases the items will be inspected and returned (some items may need treatment before they are returned). If the items are prohibited you will have the option to surrender them for destruction or export them. You will be responsible for meeting any treatment, destruction or export costs. If you don’t declare these items you could be given an on the spot fine or face prosecution. If you are unsure about items to declare, ask a biosecurity officer.

Restrictions apply to the import of many items, including raw foods and certain processed foods

You may require an import permit to import these and other items into Australia. Contact the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources prior to your departure for Australia to see if you will need an import permit. To obtain accurate information about the items you would like to bring to Australia, refer to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system. This database lists the conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia.

Examples of items that must be declared upon importation include:

  • dairy and egg products (fresh and powdered), including milk and cheese
  • seeds and nuts, including cereal grains, popping corn, raw nuts, pinecones, birdseed, unidentified seeds, some commercially packaged seeds, and ornaments including seeds. This includes any trail mix that contains these items
  • souvenirs and crafts made of timber, bark, seeds or plant material
  • fresh, dried or frozen fruit and vegetables. This includes any trail mix that contains these items
  • live animals or animal products, including all mammals, birds, fish, reptiles amphibians and insects and their feathers, bones, hair, skins, hides or furs, includes animal equipment including veterinary equipment and medicines
  • all plant material, including tea containing seeds or fruit, remedies and medicines, dried herbs or leaves or fresh or dried flower arrangements
  • animal products, including meat, sausages, fish or other seafood products, pet food and raw hide, including fresh, dried, frozen, cooked, smoked, salted or preserved, not including beef jerky;
  • biological materials
  • used sporting and camping equipment, including footwear.

Biosecurity travel tips

  • Make sure you declare all goods of animal and plant origin (including food, trail mix, MRE/ration packs and drinks)
  • Check that all personal clothing, footwear and equipment is free from soil, sand, seeds and organic matter  – cleaning requirements are available on the Department of Agriculture’s website
  • Goods should be packaged to facilitate biosecurity inspection, e.g. at the top of one bag
  • Ensure all items exposed to overseas freshwater streams/lakes are completely dry and free from algal clumps.

Human health

Please inform a crew member if you are feeling unwell prior to arrival into Australia.

More information

For further information on biosecurity requirements and Frequently Asked Questions visit the department’s Military webpage.

To confidentially report a suspected biosecurity breach phone 1800 803 006.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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