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Public Awareness and Education
AQIS officers screen all flights, passengers, baggage, mail and cargo using X-ray machines, detector dogs, physical inspection, questioning and profiling. This helps to protect Australia's agricultural industries and unique environment from quarantine risks. If you're coming to Australia to holiday, study or live permanently, or if you're an Australia resident planning an overseas trip, it's a good idea to learn what can't be mailed to or brought into Australia.
International students are required to take note when preparing to come to Australia, it is important to make sure to understand and abide by local quarantine laws and regulations. Australia has some of the strictest quarantine requirements in the world: you need to be aware of what you can't bring into the country—and what you should leave out of your suitcase.
On arrival in Australia you must declare all food, plant material and animal products for inspection to ensure they are free of pests and diseases. You make this declaration on your Incoming Passenger Card, which is handed to you by the airline before you land. You must complete this truthfully—it is a legal document.
Cultural and seasonal events
Cultural and seasonal events often spur people to bring or mail traditional celebratory items to Australia. Unfortunately, many of these items are seized because they could introduce exotic pests or diseases that could threaten the Australian environment, native plants and animals, agricultural industries and way of life.
When selecting gifts to celebrate cultural and seasonal events, please choose carefully, bearing in mind Australia's quarantine regulations. Tell family and friends not to carry or send any of the food, plant or animal products listed in What can't be mailed to Australia?
If you have items you don't wish to declare, you can dispose of them in quarantine bins in the airport terminal. Some products may require treatment (at a cost) such as fumigation or gamma irradiation to make them safe. Items that cannot be treated will be seized and destroyed by quarantine.
Under Australian law, all airlines flying into Australia must deliver an approved in-flight quarantine video message prior to landing. This message makes passengers aware of Australian quarantine regulations and helps make their entry into the country as pleasant as their flight.
In a number of states in Australia, quarantine is an important part of the curriculum and has links to a number of different learning areas, including science and the environment. AQIS has developed a wide range of education resources, fact sheets and activities for teachers and students, including information for students studying their HSC (or equivalent).
Each year, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service recognises and rewards individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to maintaining Australia's quarantine integrity.
Public awareness campaigns
Quarantine Top Watch! is the quarantine awareness campaign run by NAQS. It encourages local communities to keep a 'top watch' in their area and report to quarantine any unusual pests and diseases, or sickness in animals or plants.
Quarantine in northern Australia is important because of our proximity to South east Asia and the Pacific, which have many pests and diseases not present in Australia. For this reason, the region from Cairns to Broome—including the Torres Strait—is the focus for many important quarantine activities that protect all Australians.
There are many unique and important quarantine activities performed in these regions which protect all Australians. These activities fall under AQIS's Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS).
29 Apr 2011