WA Government ramps up biosecurity

DETECTOR dogs will be on the biosecurity frontline this festive season to ensure pests, diseases and weeds don’t ruin Christmas for Western Australian farmers by hitching a ride across the border.
WA Government ramps up biosecurity WA Government ramps up biosecurity WA Government ramps up biosecurity WA Government ramps up biosecurity WA Government ramps up biosecurity

Boston and his pack are sniffing out unwanted guests that threaten WA agriculture this festive season. Photo credit: DPIRD.

Staff Writer

With the Christmas period the busiest time for travel and parcel deliveries, detector dogs will be on duty at Perth freight yards, mail centres and the domestic airport. Their job is to sniff out any potential threats to WA's $11 billion agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries industries, or the environment, such as codling moth, red imported fire ants and the bee disease- American foulbrood. 

The WA government said inspections doubled in the 2022/23 financial year, following the removal of COVID restrictions and return on interstate travel.

It said over 1.4 million inspections were carried out across air, road, rail, mail and sea entry points for harmful pests, diseases and weeds. 

Almost 650,000 interstate airline passengers were screened last financial year, compared to around 250,000 in 2021/22, with an additional 150,000 checked by the Quarantine WA team from July until September.

The team also inspected almost 160,000 vehicles at road checkpoints at the Northern Territory and South Australian borders in 2022/23 compared to 80,000 in the previous financial year, with 87,000 checked last quarter.

They screened over 258,000 parcels at the mail centres across the Perth metropolitan area in 2022/23, with 65,000 parcels checked from July to September. 

Agriculture minister, Jackie Jarvis, urged anyone planning to visit WA this Christmas and those ordering presents for family and friends, to check quarantine import requirements to avoid unknowingly sending gifts that could carry unwanted pests and diseases.

"It is also vital for people returning to WA from overseas this holiday period to make sure they are following the national quarantine requirements to ensure diseases such as foot and mouth are not brought back in with them," she said.

For those with incoming visitors that may not understand the requirements or potential threats to WA agriculture, information can be shared from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.

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