The Hon. David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia
Deputy Leader of the Nationals
Wednesday, 27 April 2022
A fish tale and the one who didn’t get away
A Singaporean tourist who attempted to bring in 38 live fish hidden in home-made cushions has had their visa cancelled, been refused entry to Australia and received an infringement notice for a serious breach of Australia’s biosecurity laws.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud reminded all travellers not to bring in food or other biosecurity risk items when travelling to Australia.
“Fish, food, plant material and animal products from overseas could introduce serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Before you bring or mail goods to Australia for your use or the use of family and friends check that it is allowed into Australia via our website.
“The traveller was issued a 12-penalty unit infringement notice ($2,664) and referred to Australian Border Force which cancelled the visa and entry to Australia was refused.
“Previously this fine was only $444 but the Coalition Government increased it 6-fold to $2,664, the maximum under the legislation, to punish those that break our biosecurity laws.
“This is the 16th person to learn the hard way that if you don’t declare, you may receive an infringement notice of up to $2,664 and your visa may be cancelled, barring your entry
To learn the easy way about items that are a biosecurity risk and may not be permitted into Australia, visit Travelling or sending goods to Australia – DAWE
To learn more about why biosecurity is important, check out the Australian biosecurity animation.
- Since 1 January 2021 biosecurity officers have been able to issue 6 or 12 penalty unit infringement notices when travellers fail to declare the following goods:
- Category 1 goods – 12 penalty units ($2,664) – live plants, whole unprocessed seeds, meat and meat products (except retorted meat), raw or partially raw prawns, live animals (and remains of animals that have died in transit), bird or reptile eggs for hatching, veterinary vaccines.
- Category 2 goods – 6 penalty units ($1,332) – fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh fungi, fresh leaves, fresh herbs.
- Otherwise, the infringement notice amount is 2 penalty units ($444).
- 21,367 infringement notices in total have been issued by biosecurity officers at the airport since the commencement of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (between 16 June 2016 – 28 February 2022).
- Australian Border Force has cancelled 16 visas on biosecurity-related grounds since 1 October 2019. Ten of the decisions relate to failure to declare pork or pork products.
- Meat is an African swine fever risk and if this disease hits our shores, it would be devastating for our pork industry.
- The live aquarium fish import conditions, including the list of permitted species and approved countries, can be found in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON).