Avalon Airport is going international this week and the department is calling on all passengers heading down under on the new flights to be biosecurity aware.
Head of biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Lyn O’Connell, said biosecurity officers will be on the lookout for food, plants, seeds and wood items that passengers may bring with them.
“Our work at the airport safeguards Australia’s unique environment, $60 billion agricultural industries and plant, animal and human health status from biosecurity risks,” Ms O’Connell said.
“With the arrival of international flights from Kuala Lumpur into Avalon, we are asking all passengers to ensure they are aware of what they should not bring into Australia.
“500,000 international passengers are projected to move through the airport in the first year of operations, so it is a big job for biosecurity.
“Newcastle airport also recently commenced international flights and we have biosecurity officers and x-ray machines on the ground to manage any potential biosecurity risks there.
“The most common items we intercept are meat, fruit, plants and seeds, and even a single apple could carry fruit fly, which could seriously damage our $9 billion horticulture industry.
“The responsibility is on people to do the right thing—think about what you are packing, declare everything honestly on your incoming passenger card and leave plane food on the plane.
“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility and we can all do our part to protect Australia from invasive pests and diseases.”
During 2016-17, 20.5 million international air travellers arrived in Australia and 290,000 biosecurity risk items were intercepted.
The international airports that had the most biosecurity risk items intercepted were Sydney (120,996), Melbourne (57,901) and Perth (49,421).
For more information on what you can and cannot bring to Australia, visit agriculture.gov.au/travelling.