DAWR – $120,000 fine for Serious Biosecurity Breaches

DAWR$120,000 fine for Serious Biosecurity Breaches

Friday, 21 December 2018

A Brisbane company and its director have been fined a total of $120,000 for biosecurity breaches associated with the transport and storage of imported uncooked pig meat during 2014 and 2015.

The case was heard at Brisbane District Court last week with the director fined $20,000 and placed on a three year good behaviour bond. The company was also fined $100,000.

They were found guilty of 76 separate offences relating to “dealing with landed cargo in quarantine” contrary to s44B(3) of the Quarantine Act 1908.

The company was required to transport the imported containers directly to an approved arrangement site or to the processing facility of the importer, to ensure effective biosecurity control was maintained.

It was identified that the containers were instead being stored at a non-approved site and in contravention of directions issued by the department.

These actions could have exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and the community to serious biosecurity risk.

Pig meat can carry foot and mouth disease, which could cost Australia around $50 billion over a decade if it was to arrive here.

It can also carry African swine fever (ASF) which has no known cure. While ASF is harmless to humans, it is currently spreading throughout Asia and Europe and is a major threat to our $5.3 billion pork industry.

Biosecurity directions are issued for a reason. Importers and those within supply chains must comply. The department welcomes the strong penalties handed down by the court.

It sends a clear message that breaches of Australia’s biosecurity conditions will not be tolerated.


DAWR – Biosecurity Imports Levy per TEU Update

Further to the Biosecurity Imports Levy Industry Workshop in Canberra on 28 November 2018,  DAWR presented to industry a new collection model proposal which moved away from a stevedore collection model to a shipping line collection model.

There were some adjustments to the Biosecurity Levy calculation structure.


Workshop Summary and DAWR Presentation in Biosecurity Imports Levy Update – 28 November

DAWR was to commence drafting legislation in December with consultation on the exposure draft to take place in December 2018 and January 2019.  Industry stakeholders objected to the tight time frame and need for further consultation on the Levy and proposed new collection model.


Highlighted areas of feedback –

  •  the need for transparent reporting of the levy revenue raised, including relative to new expenditure for biosecurity measures
  •  the need for alignment between the levy scope and structure with biosecurity risk, especially in the context of bulk cargo, while achieving an appropriate balance between risk and simplicity to administer and implement
  •  the need for further discussion on the point at which to impose the liability to pay the levy
  •  the application of the levy to specific scenarios, including:
    • restows and transhipment, due to their low volume and the practical challenge for reporting, and
    • vessels arriving from offshore facilities, including determining the point at which the levy is triggered
  •  the implications of the proposed expansion of the levy scope to include commercial vessels for different sectors, and
  •  the impact of the levy relative to existing border fees and charges.


In response to industry feedback and further guidance from government, DAWR is undertaking further consultation on the levy scope and design prior to preparation of an exposure draft.

DAWR proposes to delay this to late January 2019, to provide further opportunity for the department and industry to consider the implications of the proposals already put forward and identify any alternative options.

2018-60 – Biosecurity Policy and Response Branch – Reminder of new air cargo screening requirement

20 December 2018


This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to remind exporters and registered establishments about changes to air cargo security screening for all exports, commencing on 1 March 2019.

Summary of changes and key points

  • This notice is further to IAN 2018-56 issued on 19 November 2018.
  • Changes to air cargo security will apply to all consignments exported from Australia by air regardless of destination, with a new requirement for “piece-level screening”.
  • If you currently export to the United States the new requirements mirror these.
  • Please read the below Countdown Notice November 2018.
DocumentPagesFile size
Countdown Notice December 2018 PDF1185 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

  • The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Home Affairs will continue to provide information about the changes as it is received.



The Department of Home Affairs is implementing the changes. This change is necessary to ensure that Australia is responding to the evolving terrorist threat.


Exporters and registered establishments responsibilities

We suggested you talk to your air cargo supply chain as soon as possible to understand the impact of the changes on your export business, and your options to reduce any negative impacts (such as potential delays or additional costs).

The Department of Home Affairs is implementing the changes. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact guidancecentre@homeaffairs.gov.au or call 1300 791 581.

It is important you raise any issues or concerns with the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible, noting that the changes are being implemented from 1 March 2019. You can also copy in the following email address (HAengagement@agriculture.gov.au).

While the Department of Home Affairs is implementing the changes, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is looking to understand and support industry readiness and the potential impacts on businesses. If you haven’t already, the department would be grateful if you could assist by replying to us directly on HAengagement@agriculture.gov.au with answers to the following questions:

  • Were you aware of these changes prior to reading the attached notice?
  • Have you considered how the new security requirements can be managed along with any importing country requirements – such as shrink-wrapping or insect-proofing treated product?
  • If yes, have you raised any concerns with the Department of Home Affairs (or your air cargo supply chain) and, if so, what are these concerns?
  • If you have raised concerns, how have they been resolved?

The department is developing a set of frequently asked questions in collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs which will be provided as soon as possible.

The department will continue to provide further information regarding the changes when received.


Contact information

If you have any questions regarding this IAN please email guidancecentre@homeaffairs.gov.au or call 1300 791 581.

It is important you raise any issues or concerns with the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible, noting that the changes are being implemented from 1 March 2019.