16 July 2013
Rakhi gifts from family and friends overseas could accidentally introduce some of the world’s most serious pests and diseases into Australia.
These pests and diseases could devastate our valuable agriculture and tourism industries as well as our unique environment.
That’s why your help is needed to protect Australia, by making sure the only gifts you send are ones that do not pose a biosecurity risk.
The lead–up to the Rakhi festival, recognised this year on 21 August, is one of the busiest periods for biosecurity officers from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
The festival celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters through the exchange of traditional gifts and is widely celebrated in Australia with tens of thousands of festival gifts sent through the post each year.
First Assistant Secretary of DAFF’s Border Compliance Division, Tim Chapman, said it was important for people to be aware of Australia’s biosecurity conditions when sending or receiving gifts.
“Letting your overseas family and friends know about what can’t be posted to Australia means there is less chance of gifts being delayed or intercepted at the border,” Mr Chapman said.
“Raising awareness of Australia’s biosecurity requirements will also ensure that those celebrating this significant event will be playing their part in managing risks to our environment and way of life.”
Items considered a biosecurity risk include Rakhi threads made with seeds or flowers, dried fruit and traditional Indian sweets such as barfi, mysore pak, gulab jamun, rasgulla, pedas, soan–papdi, or sweets made with mithai.
Safe items that family and friends can send during this festive period include cotton Rakhi threads with plastic, fabric, gold or silver beads and coins, personalised photo items and artificial flowers.
For more information visit the daff website or call DAFF on 1800 020 504.