Researchers who deal with quarantine status materials should take note of the recent prosecution of a Brisbane transport company found to have breached their biosecurity obligations.
Late last year, the Brisbane District Court found the company guilty of numerous offences for the way they dealt with quarantine status materials.
The message to quarantine permit holders was loud and clear. Those involved were handed significant individual and corporate penalties: a suspended 12 month jail sentence and $20,000 fine for the individual responsible and a fine of $100,000 for the company.
By failing to store the goods at an approved location, the company exposed Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and community to serious biosecurity risk.
The onus is on you to manage biosecurity risks
Biosecurity laws are there for a reason. Non-compliance is costly to individuals involved and their institutions, and may pose significant risks to Australia’s environment, economy and community.
This recent prosecution demonstrates that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will pursue importers and users of biosecurity risk goods who do not meet all obligations under the Act and Departmental directions for individual approved arrangements and permits.
This is a salient reminder to all users and importers of quarantine status materials that the Department takes biosecurity risks seriously, and that breaches can attract significant personal and corporate penalties.
Know your biosecurity obligations
Researchers who deal with quarantine status materials must take individual responsibility for compliance with the Biosecurity Act 2015 and related legislation. This includes:
- obtaining an appropriate permit for import and use of quarantine status materials
- ongoing compliance with the conditions listed on the permit
- maintaining mandatory records including evidence of disposal
- appropriately labelling imported materials
Refer to the Office of Research Ethics, Compliance and Integrity for more information about maintaining biosecurity compliance.