Tourists arriving in Australia for the first time in two years are being reminded to “declare or beware” when it comes to their luggage.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says officers intercepted four items that could have “significant impact” on Australian agriculture, brought in by passengers on one of the first planes to arrive at Brisbane airport after the ban on international flights was lifted.

He told a media conference on Monday the pork product, honey and seeds were all declared and no fines were issued.

But he says border force officers have been told to use the full force of penalties – a maximum fine of $2664 and visa cancellation – if people fail to declare items.

International students can now also have their visas cancelled for breaching biosecurity laws.

“Welcome to Australia, but declare or be aware you will get picked up,” he said.

Meanwhile supply chain criminals are being targeted at Australian border points as officials ramp up efforts to detect and stop illegal activity.

The multi-unit collaboration – known as Operation Jardena – involves border force officers and federal, state and territory police.

It has increased the number of officers at international airports and seaports and aims to shut down criminal networks bringing illicit drugs, firearms and illegal goods and materials into Australia.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says the operation began in November 2021 and by December it was already achieving results.

Just before Christmas, a shipping container was intercepted in Brisbane with 50 kilograms of cocaine concealed offshore in its refrigeration unit to be removed by criminals working in the supply chain in Australia, she said.

Operation Jardena has also found and seized tonnes of tobacco and millions of illegal cigarettes.

Additionally, officers monitor approved imports for compliance breaches, with more than 90 infringement notices issued since the operation started.


Maeve Bannister
(Australian Associated Press)