18 May 2012
Targeted biosecurity inspections in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have identified a range of imported goods that breached Australia’s strict import requirements.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s investigation, ‘Operation Abercorn’, demonstrated the effectiveness of reforms to mandatory quarantine intervention targets.
“Six importers were found to have imported goods that did not comply with import conditions, resulting in seized goods and possible sanctions,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Seizures included fish and dairy products, whole peeled ginger and whole chillies that were either undeclared, not compliant with import conditions or not permitted.”
Minister Ludwig said a review of Australia’s biosecurity system in 2008 recommended sweeping changes to the mandatory intervention targets which were put in place when Warren Truss was Minister.
“Exercises like Abercorn are now part of the way DAFF Biosecurity does its work and are an important element of the reforms the Government has introduced to Australia’s biosecurity system,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The mandatory intervention targets were not subject to formal risk analysis and had diminished Australia’s biosecurity risk assessment capability.
“Targeted inspections are helping Australia keep pace with the changing global trading environment, with increasing movement of people and goods across the border.
“Operation Abercorn demonstrates that the Gillard Government’s move to assign resources to higher risk activities is delivering better biosecurity outcomes.”
Minister Ludwig said the Gillard Government’s $1.6 billion reforms to the biosecurity system are delivering more streamlined movement of people and goods across the Australian border whilst maintaining the best possible protection.
"The reforms mean higher risk imports will be more closely inspected than ever before,” Minister Ludwig said.
Importers who do not comply with Australia’s biosecurity regulations can face sanctions including additional importation restrictions, loss of accreditation, fines or imprisonment. The maximum penalty for illegally importing goods is 10 years imprisonment.For more information about Australia’s biosecurity system, visit DAFF Biosecurity.