A stuffed monkey, a skull and a bear in a box – these are just some of the many thousands of banned products picked up each day by state of the art technology at Australia Post.
The company today showed off its latest weapon in Australia’s biosecurity artillery, which works in conjunction with sniffer dogs and can scan more than 500,000 items a day.
The $5 million Rapiscan 3D X-ray machine detects any organic meat or plant matter and is capable of rotating a product or even cutting it in half to reveal what’s inside.
The new technology is so powerful it can pinpoint the fat content in sausages.
Last year 24 million parcels were screened at the Gateway facility in Granville – resulting in 54,000 biosecurity detections.
Around 70 per cent of intercepts are seeds, with meat, animal products including pet food, and plant materials making up the bulk of the remainder.
Pork is high risk after African swine fever and foot and mouth disease was found in imported products.
And it also revealed some of the strange and disturbing captures.The worst offending countries were Taiwan, China, Malaysia and the United States.
“We’re simply saying declare be honest because if you aren’t we will catch you because we’re investing in technology that’s going to get you,” Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said.
“We’ll do whatever it takes whether it’s boots on the ground, new technology or paws on the ground.”
With the risks to the economy so high, the penalties have increased.
“What we’ve done is surge our resources from our airports into our postal facilities and ports because that’s where the commodities coming through,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We’ve lifted the on the spot fine from 444 dollars to 2660 dollars and for commercial importers we’ve taken the fine to over 1.1 million dollars and up to ten years in jail.”
“Two foot-and-mouth disease cases we’ve been able to intercept would cost the agriculture industry around $50 billion,” he said.
In the past year the Australian Government has cancelled 14 visas, culprits can’t come back for three years.
“It makes our job a lot easier we don’t have backlogs because of inspection the machine is very fast and very thorough,” Michael Cope, Australia Post CEO, said.
Australia Post is now working on a wildlife algorithm to detect living animals smuggled over our border.