With the African swine fever at its doorsteps and other biosecurity threats that Australia is currently facing, the country’s government has made border control methods and immigration process even more stringent. Also, the biosecurity agencies have been screening all major airports and mail distributors in order to avoid any illegal entry of imported pork products in the country.
Recently, a passenger’s visitor visa was cancelled at Sydney International Airport citing reasons relating to biosecurity breach. The 45-year-old woman from Vietnam failed to declare a sizeable cache of food tucked away in her luggage that included over 4.5 kilos of pork.The passenger will now be unable to come back to Australia for 3 years.
Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, said the cancellation showed thatAustralia would not tolerate people putting our environment, industries, economy andway of life at risk. He also added that the punishment must fit the crime and that’s why the new legislation has been introduced to cancel visitor visas when a passenger commits a significant biosecurity breach or repeatedly contravenes biosecurity laws.
Returning Australians who do the same could face criminal prosecution or civil court action. They could be ordered to pay up to $420,000 and be sentenced up to 10 years in jail.
“This government is serious about biosecurity and we will keep working to ensure the measures we have in place safeguard Australia from deadly pests and diseases now and into the future”, concluded the minister.