Why you can expect to be kept waiting at the airport
AUSSIE travellers returning to the country this Christmas and New Year period will face airport delays as an unprecedented biosecurity crackdown takes place.
All flights from Indonesia and Bali will face intense screening, at levels never seen before, with the deadly African Swine Fever on our doorstep.
The screening will have knock-on effects to incoming flights at all major international airports, including Brisbane and Cairns.
The step up includes an additional 130 border staff put on, training more detector dogs and lifting the cap on the number of passengers screened coming in to the country from Bali and Indonesia.
Some randomly selected flights will have all passengers on board stopped, screened and their luggage searched.
ASF is not harmful to humans, but is the biggest threat to Australia's biosecurity since bird flu.
It has a 90 per cent mortality rate and would devastate Queensland's $300 million pork industry if it enters the country.
In November alone 4.9 tonnes of pork product was seized at the Brisbane airport.
Travellers caught out with undeclared pork products, including jerky and biltong, could be slugged with a $420 fine, with a zero tolerance approach being undertaken.
The Courier-Mail revealed last month that the number of biosecurity detector dogs in Queensland had halved from 12 to six in the past seven years, and nationally from 80 to 39.
Agriculture department biosecurity boss Lyn O'Connell said if ASF entered Australia it could cripple the pork industry, threaten the nation's trade reputation, environment and economy.
"Summer is when our ports, airports and mail centres are busiest, but this holiday season will require extra vigilance from everyone as ASF is spreading," she said.
"If you're going overseas, think hard about what you bring back and if you visit a farm or go off track to a rural area, declare it when you come home and avoid bringing high-risk products in your luggage and remove potentially contaminated soil on your shoes and camping gear."
There will also be increased signage and warnings on incoming flights.
While ASF has already been in Vietnam, Timor Leste, Cambodia and elsewhere in Asia, an outbreak has only recently been detected in North Sumatra.
The increased biosecurity measures have been taken as Bali is a top destination for Aussie holiday makers and the summer is a peak period for travel.