Australian Olympic Team are winners for Australia's biosecurity

14 August 2012

The Australian Olympic Team will return from the London 2012 Olympic Games with another triumph—this time for Australia’s biosecurity system.

First Assistant Secretary of DAFF Biosecurity Border Compliance, Mr Tim Chapman, said the Australian team was working with DAFF biosecurity to ensure that Olympic mementos and other important items can be safely brought back into Australia.

“Our Olympians know they have to declare plant, animal and food items on the Incoming Passenger Card because it’s important for our industry and for all Australians,” said Mr Chapman.

“We worked with the Australian Olympic Committee early to make sure athletes’ bouquets will be taken in their carry-on baggage and declared for treatment.”

This year, the winners’ bouquets contain lavender, roses, apple mint, rosemary and wheat, which potentially pose a significant biosecurity risk for Australia if imported without treatment.

DAFF’s Biosecurity in-flight team, in partnership with Australian Customs and Border Protection Services, will fly home with the Olympic team from Bangkok.

“The in-flight team will inspect all hand luggage onboard, collect the declared bouquets to send for treatment and clear all athletes and officials for biosecurity risk material prior to their arrival in Australia,” said Mr Chapman.

“We understand the significance of these important keepsakes for the athletes and through our in-flight team we will ensure the timely treatment and safe return of these reminders of their medal winning performances.”

Sporting equipment and all other luggage will be assessed for biosecurity risk material by the ground clearance team.

Equipment will be ordered into quarantine or released depending on the level of risk posed by the items. DAFF Biosecurity has organised for items to be taken to an authorised treatment facility before release to the athletes and officials.

“The smooth return of our athletes, their bouquets and sporting equipment is a priority for us and another win for Australia’s robust biosecurity system, making it a safe and clean country to return home to,” said Mr Chapman.

DAFF’s biosecurity role is to protect Australia’s biosecurity status, which underpins the productivity of our primary industries and protects the environment.