Compliance at international airports up as Government cracks down on imported meat products
Biosecurity Officers at international airports have reported improved compliance from returned passengers from Indonesia over the weekend, as the Albanese Government’s strong measures to keep FMD out of Australia continue to ramp up.
All passengers returning from Indonesia were risk assessed by border officials, which led to nearly 3,700 travellers more intensively being assessed or questioned by biosecurity officers in Melbourne Airport on Saturday alone.
The rates of undeclared FMD risk items and undeclared contaminated footwear was also drastically down compared with last week.
The increased compliance comes as airports that receive direct flights from Indonesia will begin to roll out sanitisation foot mats this week.
Darwin, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne Airports have all taken delivery of the foot mats with some having started testing them prior to use, with other airports expected to follow in the coming days.
It is important to remember that these foot mats are not a silver bullet to keep FMD out of Australia but provide another layer of protection in addition to measures already imposed.
The stronger measures at our airports are being matched by stronger measures in our mail centres.
Last week it was announced that viral fragments of FMD were detected in pork floss which had been imported from China.
All mail incoming from Indonesia and China is now being screened for meat products, as another new action to keep Australia FMD-free.
Australia remains FMD-free and Australian meat is not only safe to eat, but delicious too.
Quotes attributable to Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt
“It is great to see our message getting through to travellers about the seriousness of this disease overseas.
It is not hard to make the right declarations when coming back from Bali and our $80 billion agriculture industry relies on people doing the right thing.
Passengers entering from Indonesia need to know that our operations, both overt and covert, are assessing you and anyone caught doing the wrong thing will be fined.
As we have said all along, we believe the greater risk of FMD getting into Australia is via incorrectly or illegally labelled meat products from overseas.
We have now increased our surveillance of mail from Indonesia and China so that every parcel is screened and so we can identify any potential biosecurity risks.
All up, our new measures mean we have the strongest response to a biosecurity threat in Australian history.
We will continue to put more measures in place, in line with expert biosecurity advice, to keep this disease out.”