Quarantine WA service catch pest risk in nick of time

Quarantine detector dogs and their handlers with Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston at Perth domestic airport.
Quarantine detector dogs and their handlers with Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston at Perth domestic airport.

THE Department of Agriculture and Food’s Quarantine WA service inspectors seized more than 43,000kg of risk material from airport and road checkpoints in the 2014-15 financial year. Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston says frontline biosecurity defence is vital.

“Being able to stop the risk at the WA border not only protects our agricultural industries but provides a competitive market advantage,” he said.

Quarantine inspections intercepted 109 significant pests, which included mango seed weevil in mangoes, coffee bean weevil in bananas, light brown apple moth in cherries, geometrid moth in cut flowers and sweet potato weevil in sweet potatoes.

For the 2014-15 financial year, a continued strong border quarantine program resulted in the prevention of exotic pests and diseases entering the State, enabling WA to maintain area freedom from many pests and diseases found in other states, Mr Baston said.

“It is important to understand how something as simple as bringing a piece of fruit or plant material into Western Australia can impact on our agriculture industries if it is harbouring pests or diseases,” he said.