Quarantine Regulations & Checkpoints

Regulations and restrictions are in place throughout Australia relating to the transporting of fruit, fruit boxes, honey, vegetables and so on across state borders. Many people are unaware of these restrictions and are disappointed to have to place fresh produce in disposal bins at checkpoints.
Created: May 2016
Latest Feedback: May 2016

Australia's Domestic Quarantine Rules

Australia is a major agricultural producer and exporter, responsible for 12% of our GDP. Across the country there is a mix of irrigation and dry-land farming with 61% of the land-mass utilised for production. The introduction of a pest, disease or weed into a production area can result in expensive controls being implemented and in a loss of markets.

There is an enormous range of pests, diseases and weeds which can affect plant industries in Australia. Some are already present in Australia and may be confined to small areas of the country. For this reason, each state and territory has its own list of restrictions for the movement of fruit, vegetables, plants, soils, flowers, plant products, agricultural machinery, animals or animal products and recreational equipment. These restrictions are in place to restrict the spread of pests, diseases and weeds from one part of Australia to another.

These restrictions operate under state and territory legislation and travellers face on-the-spot fines for taking prohibited items across borders.

Some areas of Australia are especially stringent with enforcing local quarantine regulations and manned quarantine checkpoints are in place at strategic locations to assist in stopping the movement of restricted items. At these locations, every vehicle is stopped and a quarantine officer will ask you to declare any restricted item. This item will be placed into a quarantine disposal bin and will be later investigated to check for any diseases and then disposed off. You are not penalised for declaring restricted items at a checkpoint. Quarantine officers may also inspect your vehicle to check for undeclared items. Again, you are not penalised for any items found during such a search.

Other locations are not manned by quarantine officers however signage will alert you that you are at a quarantine border and honesty bins provided to allow you to stop and dispose of any restricted item. If you fail to dispose of restricted items and are found to be carrying such items you will be fined. By law, you can be flagged down by random mobile quarantine officers at any location in Australia. It is your responsibility to ensure you are not carrying restriction items at any time.

For travellers that take remote tracks and routes across Australia, there may be times when you inadvertently could cross a quarantine border that has no checkpoint, and no honesty bin. In these circumstances, you can eat or cook the prohibited fresh fruit & vegetables that are listed as restricted for that area you are about to enter. Cooked fruits and vegetables are considered to be pest & disease free within the quarantine regulations so this is a logical solution if you find yourself in this situation. Do not use any other method to dispose of fresh fruit or vegetable matter unless there is an official quarantine disposal bin provided (ie. do not burn or bury fresh produce).

Many people are unaware of these restrictions and are disappointed to have to place fresh produce in disposal bins at checkpoints, however by checking these regulations you can avoid such waste.

Quarantine Areas & Checkpoints

Quarantine regulations not only apply at state borders but within specified zones within each state as documented by the Australian Government on the Quarantine Domestic website. Remember, requirements may change as new pests, diseases and weeds are detected. You can also call the freecall number 1800 084 881 (business hours Mon - Fri).

A summary of that information is below for your convenience (current as at the revised date of this article).

QUEENSLAND

The whole of the state is a pest quarantine area for bananas and other fruit and vegetables. There are 7 specific quarantine zones within the state as follows:

Banana Pest Quarantine Area, Cape York Peninsula Pest Quarantine Area, Fire Ant Pest Quarantine Area, Mango Leafhopper Pest Quarantine Area, Papaya Ring Spot Quarantine Area, Phylloxera Exclusion Zone affecting grapes, and the Sugarcane Pests Quarantine Area.

Some stores (eg. Woolworths) can provide you with a DPI certificate for your produce if you ask for it at the time of purchase. This is presented at the checkpoints to avoid having your food confiscated.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Within the NT exists the Ti Tree Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone (FFEZ), which extends from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs, and a zone which affects travellers heading south along the Stuart Highway beyond the Adelaide River township where there are restrictions on the movement of fruit & vegetables to prevent the spread of the pest melon thrips.

TASMANIA

All entry ports have strict quarantine regulations for plant and animal quarantine examinations.

VICTORIA

There are a number of zones within Victoria that restrict the movement of organic products into or out of them. These are the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA), the Phylloxera Control Areas, Potato Plant Protection Districts (PPDs), Toolangi Plant Protection District and the Tri-State Fruit Fly Zones.

NSW/ACT

In addition to the Tri-State Fruit Fly Zone there is also a Banana Protected Area, Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA), Phylloxera Exclusion zone, Rice Pest & Disease Exclusion Zone, & the Seed Potato Protected Area. Quarantine roadblocks and fruit disposal bins are strategically placed through NSW for these.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Kangaroo Island has a Ligurian Bee Sanctuary and a Potato Production Area. The Riverland is a zone where no movement of fresh, unprocessed fruit & fruiting vegetables (eg. capsicum, chilli, tomato, eggplant) cannot be taken into the area without an itemised receipt from a SA retail outlet or a plant health certificate.

Quarantine stations and fruit disposal bins are strategically placed throughout SA with mobile quarantine stations in operation randomly throughout the state.

TRI-STATE ZONE

The "Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone" covers parts of NSW, SA, and ACT. The Fruit Fly Exclusion zone means it is illegal to take ANY fresh fruit - including tomatoes, capsicum and avocados into any area within the zone. Approaches to the Zone are clearly signposted and disposal bins are provided on major transport routes. Fines may go as high as $100,000 and both random and permanent roadblocks operate in and around the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone and the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area. For more detailed information ring the TriState Fruit Fly freecall number 1800 084 881. Please watch this video for more info.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

There are a number of zones within WA that restrict the movement of organic products into or out of them. Within Carnarvon & Kununurra areas only certified bananas can enter Carnarvon area. Within the Kimberley region there is a restriction on broccoli, lettuce, & spinach from entering the region. The Ord River Irrigation Area has a restriction on uncertified citrus and stone fruits from entering the area (Kununurra) during the period 1 April - 30 November. In addition, cut flowers, foliage and leafy vegetables are not allowed OUT of the Ord River Irrigation area. In Broome, palm plants and foliage are not allowed out of the area. The potato growing areas of WA (including Gin Gin (just north of Perth) and in the South West corner of WA) are areas protected from importing potatoes from another state (other than Tasmania).

NT/WA border on the Victoria Highway has very strict quarantine regulations that are enforced.

SA/WA Border - travellers entering WA via the Nullarbor will find a tightly enforced quarantine check point that is manned 24 hours a day. All fruit - fresh or dried will be confiscated as will vegetables, honey and fruit boxes. Contact (08) 9334 1800 or email followup@agric.wa.gov.au/

Halls Creek - on the approach to the Great Northern Highway from the south (ie. if you have come up the Tanami Track from NT) you will find a Quarantine bin on the left just before the bitumen. You will be required to deposit all fruit, vegetables, honey and fruit boxes if you are en-route from NT or SA. WA travellers do not need to deposit anything at this checkpoint provided they have not left the state.

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