Protecting Australia's borders

Australia has strict biosecurity laws with tough penalties for travellers who fail to truthfully declare high risk biosecurity goods when they arrive in Australia.

Customs and Border Protection

You need to be aware of what you cannot bring into Australia and therefore what you should not pack. It is illegal to carry (or use) drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia. There are a number of items that you must declare upon your arrival in Australia including:

All food, plant material and animal items.
  • Firearms, weapons and ammunition.
  • Currency amounts of A$10,000 (or foreign equivalent).
  • Some medicines.

You should also be aware that as a routine part of their work, Australian Border Force officers may question travellers at any time, and trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports. If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask an Australian Border Force officer for advice. Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your baggage will be examined.

People who deliberately breach the Biosecurity Act 2015 could be fined or taken to court.

Some visitor, student and work visas may be cancelled in immigration clearance if a person:

  • knowingly provided false or misleading biosecurity-related information on incoming passenger cards;
  • knowingly provided a biosecurity officer with false or misleading documents;
  • failed to answer a biosecurity officer’s questions about goods or provide written information about goods requested by a biosecurity officer; or
  • failed to comply with the directions of a biosecurity officer in relation to the movement of goods

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website has further detail and information on customs and border protection requirements.

Department of Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is responsible for protecting Australia’s unique environment and agricultural industries from unwanted pests and diseases by regulating imported products including certain food, plant material and animal products.

It is important to check Australia’s biosecurity requirements when packing your personal items. Do not bring fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, pork, eggs, dairy products, live plants or seeds. Some products are not allowed into the country while other products need to meet strict import conditions. You can search the department’s database at Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) to find detailed import conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia.

If you fail to declare, or provide a false declaration, you can be penalised. For example, you may be given an infringement notice for up to A$2,664. Your visa may also be cancelled and, if so, you may be refused entry into Australia and held in immigration detention pending removal from Australia. If you are unsure of an item, declare it, or don’t bring it at all. 

You can find more information on what you can bring or send to Australia on the Department of Agriculture website.

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