Over 170 million international mail articles were sent to Australia last year, with Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officers using x–ray machines, detector dogs and inspections to intercept articles containing biosecurity risk material. During this period, officers seized over 24 000 items which were either destroyed, treated or returned to sender.
Mail order and internet purchases make up a large portion of seized items. The number of seized items also increases during cultural festivals and seasonal events. If you plan to send letters or parcels to Australia or request goods from overseas:
- check the Passenger and Mail Inquiry form for information on importing food, plant or animal products or the Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system
- do not pack items in egg cartons, wooden boxes, or cardboard boxes that have been used to hold fruit, vegetables or meat/smallgoods – this packaging is a biosecurity risk
- do not pack with straw or dried plant material; use newspaper or foam to wrap fragile goods
- thoroughly clean and dry all footwear, sporting, fishing and camping equipment to remove any soil, seeds or plant material
- make sure you fill out the declaration label clearly and correctly, itemising everything inside the package, including any packaging materials you’ve used.
If you’re a student studying in Australia, it’s important to tell your family and friends overseas about Australia’s biosecurity laws and ask them not to send food, plant and animal products.