Activity 6: Customs & Quarantine

Teacher and Learning Activities

This activity asks students to research some of the implications and potential dangers of importing freight into Australia. Using information provided by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), students research the exotic diseases and pest stowaways that can potentially enter the country with their consumer goods and other commodities. Fact sheets can be downloaded from AQIS websites or students can conduct web-based research for this activity.


Remind the class that the supply chain for the chocolate bars involved freight (cocoa mass and chocolate bars) being imported into Australia and exported out of Australia to world markets. A key part of this process is clearance through Customs and Quarantine.

Discuss students' personal experiences of passing through Customs and Quarantine.


  • What kind of items are monitored and declared?
  • Why does Australia need Customs and Quarantine?
  • Can you think of any examples on the news where there has been a threat to Australia caused by foreign diseases and pests?

Direct students to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service website using the Website Links for Research. Ask them to research the high risk pests found in imported cargo and the measures the industry can take to prevent them entering Australia.

Students should take notes to feed back to the class on:

  • names of pests that pose a risk to Australia;
  • the countries of origin of these pests;
  • the types of materials that harbour pests in transit;
  • the potential ramifications of these pests entering Australia;
  • and preventative measures.

Referring to their notes, ask students to feed back and summarise their findings. Establish with the class that pests can enter on goods, in packaging, containers and on vessels. Importers need to declare what they are bringing into the country (including packaging materials).

The Quarantine Service may:

  • fumigate containers;
  • clean containers;
  • prohibit the use of packaging materials;
  • incinerate infested materials; and
  • fine importers for not keeping accurate records of cargo or not following procedures.

Ask students to design an informative poster showing:

  • the potential threats;
  • where they can be found;
  • what they can do to protect Australia.

Student Materials


Website Links for Research

Conduct research from the websites above. Gather the following information:

  • What are the names of pests that pose a risk to Australia?
  • What countries do these pests come from?
  • What types of materials harbour pests in transit?
  • What would happen if these pests got into Australia?
  • What can be done to prevent them coming into Australia?

Design an information poster showing the threats, where pests can be found and what can be done to prevent their entry into Australia.