The University is gearing up globally and extending its profile through connections with international partners, staff, students and alumni.
South Australia benefits enormously from these connections and the University has wisely made international capability a pillar in its strategic plan, Future Making.
In pursuing these benefits for the University and the State, our global engagement activities must also handle potential biosecurity risks to Australia and comply with laws designed to protect existing agricultural industries and the environment.
Managing biosecurity risks at the University
The University has well established systems and practices to reduce biosecurity risks in research. The Office of Research Ethics, Compliance and Integrity provides detailed information for researchers on how to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth), including how to import and use quarantine status materials.
The University’s obligations do not end here however.
Individual travellers also need to know the rules
Any individual travelling to Australia from overseas must also comply with strict quarantine obligations. Under biosecurity laws, authorities can issue significant fines and even cancel visas for importing prohibited goods.
Recently, international visitors carrying undeclared food have been denied entry at Sydney Airport, had their visas cancelled and been banned from returning to Australia for 3 years. Some of these travellers have been held in immigration detention while awaiting deportation.
Australians returning from overseas could face civil court action or criminal prosecution: penalties up to $420,000 in fines and 10 years in jail can apply.
Ultimately, biosecurity is about individuals doing the right thing and knowing the rules.
The Biosecurity Act has been in operation for 3 years now and the Commonwealth Government has signalled its intention to rigorously enforce the rules to protect against imported pests and diseases that could damage the Australian economy and lifestyle.
Just as researchers using certain materials need to know how to import and use quarantine status materials, University staff and students returning to Australia need to be aware of what they can and can’t bring back into the country.
If you are travelling overseas, or supporting others in their international travel, take the time to understand the quarantine responsibilities that apply when traveling to Australia.
In knowing and complying with biosecurity obligations you will be helping to reduce the risk of introduced pests and diseases to Australia.
Biosecurity compliance is an essential part of our Future Making.