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On the spot fines
Australia is a beautiful country free from many pests and diseases found elsewhere in the world. To help keep it that way, it is vital that when entering the country, travellers declare anything that could harm our wildlife, agricultural industries or plants.
Before entering Australia passengers are given an Incoming Passenger Card to fill in. This is a legal document. You must tick YES to declare if you are carrying any food, plant material or animal products.
AQIS uses detector dog teams, X-ray machines and random baggage checks to detect undeclared quarantine items. If travellers are found with undeclared items of quarantine concern, they could receive an on-the-spot fine of up to $340 Australian dollars or be prosecuted.
When do fines apply?
Quarantine officers can impose on-the-spot fines (Quarantine Infringement Notice) when they are satisfied that a passenger has knowingly failed to declare or has mis-declared items of quarantine concern. More serious quarantine breaches will still be pursued through the courts.
How much are people fined?
The value of a fine varies from $170 to $340, depending on the nature of the offence.
Who collects the fines?
Quarantine officers will issue the passenger with an infringement notice stating the amount that must be paid to the Customs Duty Collector before leaving the airport baggage hall.
Fines can be paid in Australian currency or by an approved credit card. If a passenger is unwilling to pay the fine, AQIS may instigate court proceedings.
More information for travellers is available from the brochure 'What can't I take to Australia?'
Quarantine information is also available in languages other than English.
20 Dec 2012