​Media Release

Prosperity, Longevity and Biosecurity this Chinese New Year

​19 February 2015

Travellers, visitors and locals can help ensure the prosperity, longevity and good health of Australia’s people, animals and environment by being biosecurity aware this Chinese New Year.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that this Year of the Sheep, Australia’s 75.5 million strong sheep herd could be potentially devastated if there was an outbreak of Foot-and-mouth Disease (FMD).

“The travelling and local community might not realise that what people bring or send into Australia could have an impact on our primary industries and Australia’s status as a trading nation,” Minister Joyce said.

“While Chinese New Year gifts are brought or sent with good intentions some can introduce pests or diseases into Australia, including FMD.

“Biosecurity measures undertaken off shore, at the border at mail centres, airports and seaports, and in Australia help ensure Australia maintains its enviable status as being free from some of the damaging pests and diseases found in other parts of the world.”

Current estimates have determined that a FMD outbreak could cost around $52 billion to Australia’s economy as well as our reputation as a quality food and fibre exporter.

“Everyone benefits from a strong biosecurity system so everyone has a role to play,” Minister Joyce said.

You can help safeguard Australia from pest and disease threats by telling family and friends overseas to consider Australia’s biosecurity requirements before bringing or mailing gifts to Australia.”

To reduce the chances of gifts being seized or destroyed by the Department of Agriculture steer clear of bringing or sending: 

  • ​meat (chicken, preserved pork sausages or dried beef)
  • uncanned whole eggs including duck eggs
  • plants and fruit such as citrus, persimmons, and fresh bamboo shoots
  • any fresh or dried fruit including lychees and longans; or 
  • any herbal medicines containing mushrooms or other fungi.
I wish prosperity and good health to our Australian-Chinese community and those members of the community who have flocked together to celebrate the Year of the Sheep,” Minister Joyce said.

​More information about your role in Australia’s biosecurity system when celebrating cultural events can be found of the Department of Agriculture’s website www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/import/food/cultural-seasonal.