Recently the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (incorporating AQIS) announced changes in biosecurity reporting obligations and penalties that may be imposed for failing to correctly report goods subject to a biosecurity control.
The Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act) introduced the requirement for persons in charge of goods subject to biosecurity control, or an exposed goods order, to lodge a Reportable Biosecurity Incident (RBI) with the department in certain circumstances.
This applies to all persons who have knowledge of, or come into contact with, goods subject to biosecurity control. This includes, but is not limited to, importers, brokers, biosecurity industry participants, cargo terminal operators, freight forwarders, masters of vessels and transport operators.
Biosecurity Reporting Obligations: Who, What, How?
You must report or lodge an RBI if you become aware of an event and you are the person in charge of:
- goods subject to biosecurity control or an exposed goods order
- the aircraft, vessel, rail or road transport carrying goods subject to biosecurity control or an exposed goods order.
The person in charge must report the following incidents relating to goods under biosecurity control when the goods or conveyances:
- are infested with live pests (for example, insects, invertebrates or other animals)
- have not been managed as directed by a biosecurity officer to deal with a biosecurity risk (for example, a fumigation not taking place or goods not being sent for destruction or export as directed)
- have been destroyed and a biosecurity officer did not direct them to be destroyed
- are not the same as they were described on the manifest
- have a change in the intended end use of the goods that differs from the import conditions specified in BICON
- are no longer secure because of damage to the container, conveyance or premises where they are held
- have been lost or stolen
- have been involved in an accident for example, truck roll over
- have deviated from the movement of their intended direct route as directed from ‘a’ to ‘b’.
Biosecurity incidents can be reported:
- directly to a biosecurity officer
- to the department on 1800 798 636
- by completing a Reportable biosecurity incident form
What happens if I don’t report something I should?
Under the act biosecurity reporting obligations hold that an incident should be reported as soon as possible after becoming aware of it. Infestations of pests and diseases pose a financial and environmental threat to Australia’s agricultural industry and environment. Letting the department know as soon as you can will allow them to work with you to limit the risk associated with any pest or disease entering, establishing or spreading into Australian territory.
Under the Act, you are legally required to report a biosecurity incident and failure may expose you and your organisation to criminal charges and civil penalties.
I think I should make sure I’m across this
Magellan Logistics takes its responsibilities under the Biosecurty Act very seriously. And on this, as with all customs related matters, we’ve got your back. If you’re in doubt or need clarification, please refer to one of our Customs Brokers on 1300 651 888 or email me. Information on RBIs can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.