Getting out to see the world is a fantastic opportunity to explore and learn more about other cultures. However, it is important for the government to screen for pests, diseases and weeds which may have travelled with you.
To help protect our agricultural industries, unique environment and the health of all Australians, the department assesses all incoming air and sea travellers and screens baggage using X-ray machines, detector dogs and physical inspection.
Unsure? Just declare it
You must declare certain food, plant material (including wooden articles) and animal products on your Incoming Passenger Card. Anything you declare will be assessed by a biosecurity officer, who will determine the risk associated with the goods and whether an inspection is required.
If you are unsure, just declare it.
Depending on the risk, you may be required to:
- pay for the goods to be treated (e.g. fumigation or gamma irradiation)
- pay to export the goods from Australia
- give up your goods for destruction.
You will not face a penalty if you declare all goods, even if they are not allowed into Australia.
Be alert, look for dirt
While abroad, many travellers participate in recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting and camping. The equipment used during these adventures, such as fishing rods and hiking boots, can collect soil, plant material and water.
Before returning to Australia, make sure this equipment and clothing is thoroughly cleaned and dried. You must still declare these items to a biosecurity officer for inspection when you arrive in Australia. One way to avoid treatment costs and delays is to simply hire equipment when overseas.
Equipment and clothing that may pose a risk include:
- shoes, boots and clothing, especially if they are holding soil, plant material or water
- camping equipment, including backpacks
- mountain bikes and other sporting equipment that have been used in rural areas, markets and zoos or near animals, and have soil or manure attached
- all wooden articles
- fishing equipment, including rods, reels, bags, rope, nets, knee guards, gaiters and waders
- recreational and water sport equipment, including wetsuits, neoprene socks, water skiing and wakeboarding equipment, buoyancy vests, watercraft, paddles, spray decks, spray skirts, soft foam handles, hiking gear and swimwear or other clothing or equipment that has come into contact with water such as from rivers, lakes, ponds and swamps.
If you are unsure, just declare it on your Incoming Passenger Card.
Collect memories, not souvenirs
There are certain foods, plant material (including wooden articles) and animal products that you can bring back from your travels. However, there are also many items that are not permitted due to the risk of them containing pests and diseases.
Rather than risking treatment fees or destruction of certain souvenirs, consider taking a photo and use the money you have saved to experience the local cuisine and culture.
Know what food you can bring
All imported food must meet biosecurity requirements to be allowed into Australia. Some foods may not be allowed or may have restrictions (even if they are commercially packaged), including :
- eggs and egg products
- dairy products
- meat and meat products
- grains, seeds and nuts
- fruit and vegetables
- honey and bee products
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
- International travellers visiting Australia
- Returning Australian travellers