Welcome to the Australian International Movers Association


Rare opportunity from COVID-19

As we recover from COVID-19, it's nice to hear some positive stories coming out of this challenging time. The pandemic has significantly reduced the number of arriving passengers and aircraft at airports around the country.

For staff in our National Border Surveillance and Vector Monitoring teams, this has resulted in a significant decrease in travel-related biosecurity risk management activity.

Reduced air traffic has given Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment staff the opportunity to do biosecurity surveillance work at the usually very busy Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.


Funding the next big idea: biosecurity innovations leading us into the future

All Australians enjoy the benefits of our strong biosecurity system. It protects our agricultural industries and safeguards our precious natural resources. But certain areas of growing biosecurity risks, like increasing international cargo and mail, means there are big challenges ahead.

Through the Biosecurity Innovation Program, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is working closely with industry to develop solutions for some of our biggest challenges.

Head of Biosecurity Innovation, Cathryn Geiger, expressed how important it was for the department to work in partnership with industry.


Detection of Solanum melanospermum on Mornington Island

In mid-February, Wellesley Island Rangers came across a conspicuous thorny shrub growing on the roadside several kilometres outside the settlement of Gununa, Mornington Island, Queensland.

They did not recognise the plant, so Ranger Coordinator Thomas Wilson photographed it and emailed the images to Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) for identification.

Mr Wilson noted that the soil/road base at the site had been imported to Mornington Island from the Bing Bong region of Northern Territory.


A highly successful BMSB season

In May, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment saw the end of the 2019–20 brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) risk season.

Goods shipped or vessels that arrived from identified risk countries on or after 31 May 2020 were no longer subject to the BMSB seasonal measures including the Seasonal Pest Inspection (SPI).

Head of biosecurity, Lyn O'Connell, praised industry for their hard work and said this year's measures produced outstanding outcomes.


Improved testing requirements for imported strawberry tissue culture

The Australian strawberry industry will benefit from improved testing requirements for imported strawberry tissue culture from June this year following a review of import conditions.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment recently reviewed import conditions to ensure they are up-to-date, efficient and continue to effectively manage biosecurity risks.

The review identified several improvements to the import conditions for strawberry tissue culture, including:

  • reducing the minimum duration in government post-entry quarantine from 18 months to 12 months
  • updating the existing pathogen testing regime with more comprehensive and contemporary polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.


Plate it. Don't plant it.

Many of us love to grow fresh, healthy fruit and veggies in our own backyards. It's a great way to learn about growing plants, save money and eat well.

Planting fruits and vegetables or seeds of herbs and spices meant for eating may seem cost effective and resourceful, but you could unknowingly introduce exotic pests and diseases into your garden. Once in your garden, exotic pests and diseases could spread further.

While these pests and diseases pose no risk to human health when eaten, they may have a significant impact on the health of our plants. They could threaten Australia's agricultural industries and irreversibly damage our unique natural environment and biodiversity.


Airport biosecurity staff redeployed to where they're needed most

With the reduction in international air passenger travel due to COVID-19, our biosecurity officer presence at Australia's international airports continues to deliver important biosecurity and human health screening and clearance. The number of biosecurity officers required is far less, with some 350 redeployed to other work within the department and to Services Australia.

Biosecurity officers who have been redeployed are embracing a varied range of activities and roles – for some, re-familiarising and some experiencing new and diverse opportunities across operational, policy and administrative environments.

Rick Hawe, head of Inspections Group, said the circumstances have provided biosecurity officers with opportunity to assimilate, broaden their experience and learn new skills while continuing to contribute to and support the department during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ship happens: ants, termites and spiders found onboard a yacht in Darwin

A yacht was on route to Sydney when it docked in Darwin on 14 April 2020. At the arrival inspection biosecurity officers found evidence of termite activity on board.

The vessel had spent the last 2 years in Malaysia and underwent termite treatment by a Thai commercial pest controller in September 2019.

The officers, from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, found no live termites were noted. However, evidence of damage was suspected of the exotic Coptotermes species. Further confirmation of the efficacy of the termite treatment was required to ensure the colony had been fully eradicated.


Onshore Biosecurity Levy

Following consultation with industry and further consideration of the impacts on industry, the Australian Government will not proceed with the Onshore Biosecurity Levy.

This decision also considered the ongoing impacts of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 on the Australian economy and the rapidly changing global trade environment.

This will not impact on the overall biosecurity budget. Australia’s biosecurity system will continue to be funded through existing arrangements.


Thank you for your feedback on the 2020 Biosecurity Matters reader survey

We've asked you in our 2020 Biosecurity Matters reader survey what you think of our e-newsletter. The survey was open from 11 May 2020 to 7 June 2020. The results are now in and are looking encouraging. Thank you for your feedback.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment received feedback from 88 readers. This included people from import and export industries, government employees, academics and members of the public.

Over 77% of participants rated their overall experience with Biosecurity Matters an 8 or above out of 10.Read more...

Biosecurity Matters

Published: August 18, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all personal effects shipments into Australia subject to mandatory quarantine inspection?

Yes – Australia is in the fortunate situation of being one of the few countries relatively free of common pests and diseases found in other countries. For this reason, the Australian Government has mandated that all unaccompanied shipments of used personal effects, motor vehicles and vessels be screened and physically inspected at approved and licenced unpacking depots by Department of Agriculture and Water Resources inspection officers.

Why is there a fee for the mandatory quarantine inspection?

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will only permit the unpacking of imported personal effects to occur within the confines of specially licenced and approved warehouses with adequate contamination containment measures, trained and accredited warehouse staff and the required electronic interface reporting systems. The fees for quarantine inspection, clearance and attendance charged by AIMA members cover the cost of annual depot licencing, use of bonded warehouse space, attendance and inspection fees for DAWR inspection officers and required interface software licencing.