Biosecurity incursions are one of Queensland agriculture's greatest business risks with exotic pests, diseases and weeds having a potentially crippling impact on both plant and animal production systems, and animal health and wellbeing across the state.
In 2020, more than 60,000 parcels of a potential biosecurity risk were intercepted at Australia's international mail centres.
This number includes 55,000 parcels containing seeds and 3000 containing pork products.
With Queensland announcing the reinstatement of quarantine-free international travel recently, the number of biosecurity incursions is expected to increase.
So, international travellers are encouraged to educate themselves and remain vigilant to comply with Australia's biosecurity laws and help protect Australia from serious biosecurity threats.
It's important to check Australia's biosecurity requirements before packing biosecurity risk items, such as pork, fruit, plants, seeds, grains and spices.
Make sure any footwear, clothing and recreation equipment is clean, dry and soil-free.
Also, don't bring any food from the plane into the airport terminal as you leave the plane.
If brought to Australia, these items must be declared on your incoming passenger card or disposed of in bins located in the terminal before undergoing biosecurity screening.
There are no penalties for people who truthfully declare food or other biosecurity risk goods.
However, there are serious penalties for breaching biosecurity laws.
International arrivals could be issued with an infringement notice of up to $2664 and/or have their visa cancelled.
While returning Australians could face criminal prosecution or civil court action, substantial financial penalties and/or imprisonment.
The agriculture sector continues to play its part by limiting the impact of pests and diseases, and fulfilling its prevention and management obligations to ensure Queensland's economy, natural environment, health and way of life is not adversely impacted.
However, we still need significantly more resourcing to address many of the pest and weed species that are gaining a foothold and spreading in Queensland.
All Queenslanders have a general biosecurity obligation to manage biosecurity risks and threats.
If you see or suspect a biosecurity pest or disease, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland at www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/biosecurity or call 13 25 23.
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