After first visa cancelled under biosecurity laws, others warned of bringing in ‘undeclared food’ in Australia

  • October 31, 2019

Image: Department of Agriculture

A 45 year old Vietnamese woman had her visa cancelled for breaching Australian biosecurity laws – the nation’s first.

The passenger arriving in Sydney International Airport from Vietnam had a bag full of undeclared food which included a whopping 4.5 kilos of pork, garlic, fruit, raw eggs and over a kilo each of squid and quail.

Commonwealth officials used new legislation to cancel the passenger’s visa due to the significant biosecurity risk posed by the contents of their baggage, and the disregard they showed for the strict rules about declaring what you have.

The passenger is now unlikely to be able to come back to Australia for three years. Head of compliance Peta Lane said that the verdict may seem harsh but it’s necessary to protect Australia’s agriculture and environment.

Speaking to the media, Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie told reporters “if you are travelling from an African swine fever country – we are watching you”.

She further warned others of the consequences of trying to bring in undeclared food.

“Please don’t ask for your favourite meal, don’t ask for your favourite meat treat or don’t ask mum to cook you her favourite sausage and bring it over in her handbag,” Senator McKenzie said. “You will be subject to the full force of our biosecurity regime because we are not going to take any risks with our agricultural platform, our pork producers and letting African swine fever into Australia.”

‘The pork in this passenger’s luggage alone could be a vector for African swine fever, a disease that is wreaking havoc in the pig livestock industry across the world”, head of compliance Peta Lane said.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is the management of the risk of pests and diseases entering, emerging, establishing or spreading in Australia and causing harm to animals, plants or human health, the economy, the environment and the community.

Australia has strict laws relating to the importation of certain goods. This ensures that the biosecurity risk to Australia’s agricultural industries and unique environment is minimised. Visitor visa cancellation is one of a range of measures now in place to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity at airports.

You must declare certain food, plant material and animal products. When you declare these goods they will be checked by a Department of Agriculture biosecurity officer who will determine whether they are allowed into Australia.

Some products may require treatment to make them safe. Other goods may be restricted due to pest and disease risks, nevertheless everyone must declare ‘Yes’ if one is carrying certain food, plant material or animal products. You can take these declared goods with you to the clearance point where they will be inspected by a biosecurity officer.

For further information on what you can bring in to Australia or other FAQs on biosecurity please follow the link below: