Imported cargo compliance - targeted operations and surveillance factsheet

​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, February 2016

This factsheet outlines the risk based approach the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is taking to managing imported cargo and its associated biosecurity risks.




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Imported cargo compliance - targeted operations and surveillance factsheet PDF


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The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources continues to implement a compliance-based regulatory model to assist in the management of imported cargo. This approach means the department will direct resources to the commodities, pathways and entities (companies and individuals) that pose the greatest biosecurity risk.

Activities such as targeted campaigns, cargo compliance verification, intelligence gathering and data analysis are tools available to the department when we are assessing imported cargo. The truthful reporting of cargo ensures the department can accurately assess the potential biosecurity risk.

Results of targeted campaigns have detected the following concerns:

  • descriptions do not adequately describe imported goods
  • deliberate mis-describing of goods
  • under reporting, including product quantities
  • non-reporting of goods including trade samples
  • inappropriate downgrading of the department’s community protection profile questions.

When you fail to comply with biosecurity requirements you can expect:

  • increased intervention
  • increased fees as a result of further intervention
  • delays as your goods may be directed for a full unpack inspection
  • the treatment, export or destruction of your goods
  • penalties including fines and prosecution.

When you comply with biosecurity requirements you can expect:

  • quicker release of your goods
  • reduced fees due to reduced intervention.

Case study – targeted operations

  • Targeted campaigns focus on the evaluation and targeted intervention of known and potential non-compliant imported cargo.
  • Targeted campaigns will continue to test importer compliance. The results gained from operations will be used to intercept further consignments likely to contain prohibited material that could have long-term negative impacts on Australia’s agricultural industries and environment.
  • People and companies have been prosecuted as a result of targeted operations such as Operation Hayride, Abercorn and Balmain. Penalties have included substantial fines and imprisonment for individuals involved.
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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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