​Media Release

Brisbane biosecurity keeping bah hum-bugs away​

13 December 2018

  • Brisbane biosecurity keeping dangerous pests out of Australia these holidays
  • 37,000 biosecurity risk items intercepted at Brisbane Airport last year
  • Includes live squirrels, an NBL player's dog and infected citrus budwood 

​Biosecurity officers are set for a busy holiday period with the number of international passengers, packages and biosecurity risks increasing significantly over Christmas.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the Brisbane Airport team had made many significant interceptions this year.

"Everyone needs to do their part to protect Australia from foreign pests," Minister Littleproud said.

"Over the holidays there's a big increase in overseas arrivals and packages.

"We see a lot of Christmas items this time of year, such as wreaths, food, and wooden toys, which could carry pests and diseases and should always be declared.

"Brisbane Airport biosecurity officers and sniffer dogs intercepted 37,000 items in 2017–18.

"That includes squirrels, an NBL player's dog and citrus budwood with a nefarious citrus disease.

"Everyone needs to be biosecurity aware when they travel and shop online.

"Christmas is a time to celebrate and the last thing we want is pests and diseases arriving here and damaging our environment and agricultural industries and risking human health."

Since 2013 the Coalition Government has increased biosecurity investment by 29 per cent, totalling $783.8 million this financial year.

This year's Budget included $313 million over six years for biosecurity. This includes $25.2 million for smart new pest detecting technology and $36.5 million to improve biosecurity analytics to identify passengers, countries and imports are likely to bring in pests and diseases.

For more information on what can and cannot be brought or mailed to Australia, visit agriculture.gov.au/travelling.

Fast Facts:

  • 346,000 risk items were intercepted in our airports and seaports in 2017-18.
  • It is estimated Australian biosecurity saves the average farmer up to $17,500 per year.
  • Biosecurity risk items include foods, plants, seeds, wood and animal material.
  • Biosecurity protects our environment, $60 billion agriculture industry and health.
  • Anyone who fails to declare risk items faces serious penalties including prosecution.