ABOVE: A Spanish man’s visa has been cancelled after he failed to declare pork and cheese in his luggage. Photo: AAP
A Spanish traveller was the first person fined under beefed-up biosecurity laws after he failed to declare meat and cheese in his luggage.
The 20-year-old man’s visa was cancelled, and he was fined $3300 for carrying more than 1kg of undeclared raw pork meat and cheese.
The man was stopped at Perth airport recently with 275g of non-commercial pork pancetta, 665g of non-commercial pork meat and about 300g of goats cheese in his luggage, all of which was not declared.
The Albanese Government announced in October it would increase the infringement amounts for people caught with banned items to stop diseases and pests from entering and establishing in Australia.
Previously, the man’s visa would have been cancelled and he would have been fined $2664.
Travellers whose visas are cancelled are removed from Australia on the earliest available flight and can face an exclusion of three years before they are able to reapply.
Agriculture Minister Senator Murray Watt said the new laws won’t dissuade travellers from coming to Australia.
“I think the overwhelming majority of tourists do the right thing and they declare biosecurity risk items when they arrive and that’s what this guy didn’t do,” Minister Watt said.
“If he had declared those products, other action would have been taken, but the problem was that he didn’t declare them.
“We are serious about keeping foot and mouth and other diseases out of the country, and travellers need to remember that when they’re trying to enter Australia.”
Pest and disease risks
Minister Watt called on international travellers to think carefully about their passenger declarations and report anything in doubt.
It came with the Department of Agriculture issuing a warning about the Lunar New Year.
The department’s Dr Chris Locke said Lunar New Year gifts, which are often food parcels, could be stopped at the border.
“Unfortunately, there are some traditional gifts for Lunar New Year that could introduce pests and diseases into Australia,” Dr Locke said.
“We often see items at the border that contain pork, fruit, plants, herbs and eggs.
“These could pose a high risk of introducing pests and diseases.”
It’s been estimated an outbreak of foot and mouth in Australia could cost the economy more than $80 billion across 10 years.
Those failing to declare biosecurity risk items at the border face fines of up to $5500 and the cancellation of their visa.