Infringement Notice Scheme

​​Passengers arriving in Australia, importers, import industry participants, the airline and shipping industries and other people bringing goods or conveyances into Australia need to be aware of the penalties for not complying with biosecurity requirements.

On 16 June 2016, the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Biosecurity Act) came into effect and introduced a framework of modern regulatory tools to manage compliance. This framework includes an Infringement Notice Scheme (INS), enforceable undertakings, injunctions and civil penalties.

The INS includes 52 infringement notices. Some can be issued at first points of entry such as airports and seaports. Some relate to cargo and ballast water. Others can be used across the biosecurity continuum.

Infringement notices provide an administrative method for dealing with certain breaches of the law and are typically used for low-level offences and contraventions. An infringement notice provides an alternative to prosecution for an offence and to proceedings for a civil penalty order.

If you are issued with an infringement notice and choose to pay the amount specified in the notice on time, all guilt or liability regarding the alleged contravention is discharged. If you choose not to pay, then you may be prosecuted for an offence or proceedings for a civil penalty order may be brought against you. The court may then impose the maximum penalty for the contravention.

Your infringement notice sets out information about the payment amount and method. It also explains the processes for seeking a withdrawal of a notice and an extension of the payment period.

Infringement notices at the airport

All passengers coming to Australia must be aware of Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements and the penalties for not complying with those requirements.

In accordance with the Biosecurity Act and the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (RPA), a biosecurity officer can give you one or more infringement notices in the airport for:

  • s 126(2): not answering questions or providing information in relation to goods when requested;
  • s 128(2): not following directions given by a biosecurity officer in relation to your goods or baggage;  
  • s 532(1): knowingly providing false or misleading information or omitting information when asked; or
  • s 533(1): knowingly producing a false or misleading document, including your Incoming Passenger Card (IPC);

You may be issued an infringement notice if a biosecurity officer finds goods in your baggage that you have not declared on your IPC or informed them about when asked. You must answer questions about your goods truthfully, including when completing the questions on the IPC.

If you choose to pay the infringement notice you will usually need to pay before leaving the airport (unless an extension of time to pay the infringement notice has been granted to you by the issuing biosecurity officer).

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How much is my infringement notice?

Under Commonwealth law, financial penalties are calculated in ‘penalty units’. Section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 sets the monetary amount of one penalty unit at $210, as of 1 July 2017.

The amount payable under an infringement notice issued at the airport for the alleged contravention of s 126(2), s 128(2), s 532(1) or s 533(1) of the Biosecurity Act is two penalty units ($420), as prescribed under s 88 of the Biosecurity Regulation 2016.

What happens if I don’t pay my infringement notice?

You may choose not to pay the amount payable that is specified on the infringement notice. However, if you choose not to pay then court proceedings seeking a civil penalty order under Part 4 of the RPA may be brought against you in relation to the alleged contravention.

The maximum penalty that a court could impose for each contravention is:

  • s 126(2) - 120 penalty units ($25,200)
  • s 128(2) - 120 penalty units ($25,200)
  • s 532(1) - 60 penalty units ($12,600)
  • s 533(1) - 60 penalty units ($12,600)

If you choose to pay the infringement notice on time, and the infringement notice is not withdrawn by the department, court proceedings seeking a civil penalty order under Part 4 of the RPA will not be brought against you in relation to the alleged contravention.

Payment of the amount payable in the infringement notice is not an admission of guilt or liability.

How can I pay my infringement notice?

If you choose to pay the infringement notice, you must either make your payment at the Australian Border Force (ABF) duty counter before leaving the airport OR request an extension of time to pay the infringement notice before leaving the airport. This airport payment period requirement applies to the following infringement notices:

  • s 126(2): failing to answer questions, or provide information in writing in relation to goods
  • s 128(2): failing to comply with a direction relating to the movement of goods
  • s 532(1): knowingly providing false or misleading information, or providing information that omitted any matter or thing without which the information was misleading, in compliance or purported compliance with a requirement under s 126(2) or 196(2) of the Act
  • s 533(1): knowingly producing a false or misleading IPC document in compliance or purported compliance with the Act, other than in compliance or purported compliance with a requirement under s 126(2)

The department cannot accept a payment from you for any of the above infringement notices if you leave the airport without paying or requesting an extension of time. This is because the payment period expires as soon as you leave the airport.

Can I request an extension of time to pay my infringement notice?

You may request an extension of time to pay the infringement notice by asking the issuing biosecurity officer for the extension before leaving the airport. You cannot request an extension of time for an infringement notice that has an airport payment period requirement once you have left the airport.

If you have been granted an extension of the payment period at the airport and require additional time to pay your infringement notice, you may apply to the Director of Biosecurity for a further extension of time to pay.

You may write to the Director of Biosecurity through the Infringement Notice Unit (INU). You can request additional time to pay via phone or by sending an email to the INU. You must apply for a further extension within your current extension period. Payments received outside of this extended payment period cannot be accepted by the department.

For INU contact information please go to the below tab: ‘How can I contact the Infringement Notice Unit?’

Can I request a withdrawal of my infringement notice?

You may write to the Director of Biosecurity to request the withdrawal of your infringement notice.  You will be notified of this decision in writing. If the infringement notice is withdrawn you will receive a refund of the money you have paid to the department.

To request a withdrawal:

  • you must make your request in writing; and
  • you should provide all relevant evidence/information that may assist the Director of Biosecurity to make a decision to withdraw the infringement notice.

If you are acting on behalf of someone who was given the infringement notice, for privacy reasons, an Authority to Act form must also be provided with your request for withdrawal. The Director of Biosecurity will be unable to review the request for withdrawal if this form is not provided. A copy of this form can be found at the bottom of this page.

A request for withdrawal does not provide you with an extension of the original of payment period. If you wish to seek an extension of the payment period while your request is being considered, please include a request for the extension of your payment period as part of your withdrawal request.

How can I contact the Infringement Notice Unit?

Please contact the Infringement Notice Unit via emailInfringement unit

Phone the public enquiry line:  (02) 6272 4965 or internationally +61 2 6272 4965.

The enquiry line is open: Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm AEST

Postal address:
Infringement Notice Scheme
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Download

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Other infringement notices

Biosecurity enforcement officers have the powers and ability to issue all 52 of the infringement notices under the Infringement Notice Scheme (INS). They can issue infringement notices to importers and import industry participants across all import pathways. They can also issue infringement notices to manage biosecurity risks relating to ships and aircraft and biosecurity risks onshore.

A list of the 52 infringement notices that can be issued by biosecurity enforcement officers for contraventions of the Biosecurity Act 2015 are set out in the table below. This overview is a summary of the relevant provisions.

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52 Infringement notices

Section numberExplanation of contravention
124(2)A person in charge of goods fails to comply with a direction to secure the goods
125(4)A person in charge of goods fails to comply with a direction to deliver samples of goods to the biosecurity officer
126(2)A failure to comply with a requirement to answer questions or provide information in writing in relation to goods
127(3)A failure to comply with a requirement to produce documents in relation to goods specified by the biosecurity officer
128(2)A failure to comply with a direction given by a biosecurity officer to not move, deal with or interfere with goods
129(2)A failure to comply with a requirement not to interfere with, remove or deface a biosecurity control notice affixed to goods or given to a person in charge of goods
130(2)An unauthorised person fails to comply with a direction to not move, deal with or interfere with goods in relation to which a direction has been given or a notice has been affixed
139(3)A failure to comply with a direction to not interfere with, remove or deface a notice affixed to goods
188(1)A person receives, or has in their possession prohibited or suspended goods that have been brought or imported into Australian territory
196(4)A person on an incoming aircraft or vessel fails to comply with a direction to provide information (including by answering questions) for the purpose of assessing the level of biosecurity risk associated with the person and any goods that that person has with them
198(2)A person in charge or the operator of a conveyance fails to comply with a direction to secure a conveyance in a manner, and for a period (which must not exceed 48 hours), specified by the biosecurity officer
200(2)A failure to comply with a direction to provide information, answer questions, or provide information in writing, in relation to a conveyance
201(3)A failure to comply with a direction to produce documents in relation to a conveyance as specified by the biosecurity officer
202(2)A person in charge or the operator of a conveyance fails to comply with a direction to not move, deal with or interfere with a conveyance; to move the conveyance, as soon as practicable, to a place specified by the biosecurity officer; any other direction relating to the movement of a conveyance; or cause the conveyance to be moved to another place
203(2)A person interferes with, removes or defaces a notice affixed to a conveyance or given to a person in charge of a conveyance
204(2)An unauthorised person moves, deals with or interferes with a conveyance to which a direction to secure or relating to movement has been given
214(3)A person interferes with, removes or defaces a notice affixed to a conveyance
220(1)The person in charge or the operator of an incoming aircraft or vessel that is subject to biosecurity control fails to ensure that each person (including a member of the crew) on board the aircraft or vessel is given information about biosecurity requirements under the laws of the Commonwealth
221(3)The person in charge of a vessel that is within Australian territory has failed to ensure that the prescribed quarantine signal is displayed on the vessel in the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by the regulations
300B(2)The person in charge or operator of a vessel  fails to comply with a direction to secure the vessel in a manner, and for a period (which must not exceed 48 hours), specified by the biosecurity officer
300C(4)The person in charge of the vessel fails to comply with a direction to deliver to the biosecurity officer samples of ballast water from the vessel*
300D(2)A failure to comply with a direction to answer questions, or provide information in writing, in relation to a vessel
301(4)The owner of a vessel fails to produce a record or a copy of a record as required by a biosecurity officer and does not do it as soon as reasonably practicable
317(3)A person in charge of goods or a conveyance fails to comply with a direction to secure the goods or conveyance as specified by the biosecurity officer
318(4)A person in charge of goods or premises fails to deliver to the biosecurity officer such samples of the goods or premises as specified in the biosecurity officer’s direction
319(2)A failure to answer questions, or provide information in writing in relation to goods or premises as required by a biosecurity officer
320(3)A failure to produce documents in relation to goods or premises as required by a biosecurity officer
321(2)The person in charge of goods or a conveyance fails to comply with a direction not to move, deal with or interfere with the goods or conveyance; a direction to move the goods or conveyance, as soon as practicable, to a place specified by the biosecurity officer; any other direction relating to the movement of the goods or conveyance; or cause the goods or conveyance to be moved to another place
322(3)A person interferes with, removes or defaces a notice affixed to goods or a conveyance
323(1)An unauthorised person moves, deals with or interferes with the goods or conveyance to which a notice has been affixed by a biosecurity officer
348(3)A person interferes with, removes or defaces a notice affixed to goods or premises by a biosecurity officer
363(1)An unauthorised person moves, deals with or interferes with the goods or premises to which a notice has been affixed by a biosecurity officer
373(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces notices or markings identifying a biosecurity response zone
374(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces  the notice or markings identifying goods or premises in a biosecurity response zone
381(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces  the notice or markings identifying a biosecurity monitoring zone
382(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces  the notice or markings identifying goods or premises in a permanent biosecurity monitoring zone
383(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the trap, equipment or other structure set up in a permanent biosecurity monitoring zone
391(1)An authorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the notice or markings identifying a temporary biosecurity monitory zone
392(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the notice or markings identifying goods or premises in temporary biosecurity monitoring zone
393(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the trap, equipment or other structure set up in a temporary biosecurity monitoring zone
401(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the notice or markings identifying a biosecurity activity zone
402(1)An unauthorised person interferes with, removes or defaces the notice or markings identifying goods or premises in a biosecurity activity zone
438(1)A person gives information in connection to biosecurity activities that are being or are to be carried out by the biosecurity industry participant in accordance with an approved arrangement covering the biosecurity industry participant to a biosecurity officer and does so knowing that the information is false or misleading
439(1)A person produces a document to a biosecurity industry participant; and the person does so knowing that the document is false or misleading and the information is given in connection with biosecurity activities that are being, or are to be, arranged covering the biosecurity industry participant
456(3)A person, during a biosecurity emergency period, interferes with, removes or defaces the notice affixed to goods or conveyance
532(1)A person gives information in compliance or purported compliance with this Act; and the person does so knowing the information is false or misleading; or omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading
533(1)A person produces a document to another person; and the person does so knowing that the document is false or misleading; and the document is produced in compliance or purported compliance with this Act
556(4)The person in charge of a conveyance fails to comply with a direction to provide suitable and sufficient food and sleeping accommodation for the biosecurity officer
600(6)A person in charge of goods fails to comply with the direction to secure the goods in a manner specified by the biosecurity officer; a direction not to move, deal with or interfere with the goods; a direction to move the goods to a place specified by the biosecurity officer; and other directions relating to the movement of goods
601(1)A person is given a direction in relation to withheld goods and the person moves, deals with or interferes with the goods
607(1)A direction has been given in relation to a detained conveyance and a person fails to comply with a direction to not move, deal with or interfere with the conveyance
631(3)A person fails to comply with a direction or request to not damage or destroy goods whilst following a direction to do a thing (including taking a biosecurity measure) in relation to goods for the purposes of this Act and the person did not act in food faith and the destruction or damage was not a reasonable or necessary result of complying with the direction or request in relation to the goods

How much is my infringement notice?

Under most Commonwealth laws, including the Biosecurity Act, financial penalties are expressed in terms of ‘penalty units’ instead of dollar figures. Section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 sets the monetary amount of one penalty unit at $210, as of 1 July 2017.

While the amount payable under an infringement notice issued by biosecurity enforcement officers varies depending on the contravention or offence, generally the amount is 12 penalty units (currently $2,520) for an individual and 60 penalty units (currently $12,600) for a company.

How can I pay my infringement notice?

If you are issued with an infringement notice by a biosecurity enforcement officer, the payment period for the infringement is 28 days after the day the notice was given.

You may pay the penalty amount specified on your infringement notice within the payment period displayed on the notice with a credit card, cheque, money order or electronic funds transfer. Further payment details can be found on the back of your infringement notice.

Can I request an extension of time to pay my infringement notice?

If you have been issued with an infringement notice you may request an extension of time in which to pay the notice by contacting the department’s Infringement Notice Unit (INU) (see details below).

You may request an extension of time in which to pay the notice as long as you seek the extension of time within the originalpayment period. You cannot request an extension once the original payment period has ended.

If you have already received an extension and still require further time to pay your notice, you must apply for this within the extended period, as late payments received outside of the extended payment period cannot be accepted by the department. You may request and extension more than once.

What happens if I don’t pay my infringement notice?

If you choose not to pay the penalty amount outlined on the infringement notice or don’t pay within the payment period specified in your notice (including any extension period given), then court proceedings seeking a civil penalty order may be brought against you in relation to an alleged contravention, or you may be prosecuted for an offence if you have contravened an offence provision under the Biosecurity Act.

Can I request a withdrawal of my infringement notice?

If you have been issued with an infringement notice you may write to the Director of Biosecurity seeking the withdrawal of the notice.

To request a withdrawal you:

  • must make the request in writing; and
  • may provide information about the circumstances of the alleged contravention and any other relevant information to assist the Director of Biosecurity to make a decision on your request.

If you are acting on behalf of someone who has received an infringement notice, an Authority to Act form must also be provided with your submission. The completed form allows the INU to review the matters you have raised on behalf of the notice recipient. The INU will notify the nominated representative of the infringement notice of its decision, in writing.

The Director of Biosecurity has the ability to withdraw an infringement notice whether or not the notice recipient has made written representations seeking the withdrawal.

How can I contact the Infringement Notice Unit?

The best way to contact the INU is via email: InfringementUnit@agriculture.gov.au

Phone

You can contact us by phone, from Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm AEST, on 02 6272 4965

Postal address

Infringement Notice Scheme
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601

Download

DocumentPagesFile size
Infringement Notice Scheme - Authority to Act Form PDF1612 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

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