HEAD of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Tongue, has announced that sea containers packed in a khapra beetle target risk country and unpacked in a rural grain-growing area will now be required to undergo treatment offshore.
He said the measures were an important step in keeping Australia free from khapra beetle.
“Global markets rely on international trade, and Australia is no exception,” Mr Tongue said.
“But what we don’t want is contaminants and pests hitching a ride into Australia on sea containers.”
The new sea container measures are in addition to those announced on 12 April 2021 which introduced mandatory offshore treatment for full container load/full container consolidated sea containers packed with high-risk plant products in a khapra beetle target risk country.
Under the new measures, FCL/FCX containers where all types of goods are packed into the sea container in a khapra beetle target risk country and will be unpacked in a rural grain growing region of Australia will be required to undergo mandatory treatment offshore.
“The khapra beetle is Australia’s number two national priority plant pest, and for very good reasons,” Mr Tongue said.
“It’s a highly invasive pest that poses a major threat to Australia’s grains industry.”
The beetle destroys grain, making it unfit for consumption for humans and animals, and it also poses a health risk, causing stomach, breathing and skin irritation issues.
Mr Tongue said around 80% of our grain exports would be at risk if we were to have a khapra beetle outbreak, and it would cost our economy $15.5bn over 20 years.
“We can’t risk complacency. Khapra beetles can live for several years without food – it will hide undetected in cracks and under the floors of sea containers.
“Everyone needs to play their part to protect Australia’s biosecurity,” he said.
Importers are encouraged to stay up to date on the urgent actions by visiting www.awe.gov.au/khapra-urgent-actions