ILLEGALLY grown tobacco, with a potential excise value of more than $10 million, was seized by the Australian Taxation Office at a Eurobin property on Tuesday.
An ATO spokesperson said more than 123,000 tobacco seedlings, growing in a large hot house on site, were seized by the ATO in a joint operation with Victoria Police.
ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said the ATO will continue to act decisively to deal with illegal tobacco growing in Australia.
“The illegal tobacco trade is not only harmful to people’s health but is harmful to the community through the loss of excise,” Mr Cranston said.
“Those who support the trade in illicit tobacco are putting money into the hands of organised criminals.”
It has been illegal to grow tobacco in Australia since the industry – which involved over 100 growers in the Ovens, King and Kiewa valleys – closed down in late 2006, and there have been no commercial tobacco licences granted by the ATO since that time.
“Currently, there are no licensed commercial producers or dealers in Australia,” Mr Cranston said.
He said the ATO would continue its cross-agency collaboration in detecting and dealing with offenders, and urged community members to remain vigilant and contact police if anything looks suspicious.