THE WESTERN Australian government is deploying Quarantine WA inspectors at freight yards, the domestic airport and mail centres for biosecurity checks over the festive season.
Quarantine WA is part of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and responsible for inspections at the state’s sea, air, road and rail entry points.
Inspectors and detector dogs will be on alert for prohibited items including fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, seeds, plants, flowers and other potential risk items.
The state government said the inspections are necessary while travel and parcel deliveries pick up over the holiday period.
“The early detection of any pest, weed or disease is critical to being able to contain and eradicate the threat to protect our $11 billion agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries industries as well as the environment,” WA agriculture and food minister Jackie Jarvis said.
Quarantine inspections at Western Australia’s borders are part of the state government’s early warning biosecurity and surveillance systems.
Inspections doubled in the 2022/23 financial year as interstate travel resumed following the removal of covid restrictions.
More than 1.4 million inspections were carried out across air, road, rail, mail and sea entry points for harmful pests, diseases and weeds such as codling moth, red imported fire ants and the bee disease – American foulbrood that could threaten agriculture and the environment.
This included screening almost 650,000 interstate airline passengers compared with about 250,000 in 2021/22.
Almost 160,000 vehicles were inspected at road checkpoints on the border in 2022/23 compared with 80,000 in the previous financial year.
More than 258,000 parcels were screened at mail centres across the metropolitan area in 2022/23.
Quarantine WA screened about 150,000 airline passengers, 87,000 vehicles at road checkpoints and 65,000 parcels between July and September this year.
“If you are planning to visit WA this Christmas or ordering presents for family and friends, make sure you check the quarantine import requirements first so you don’t unknowingly include gifts that could be carrying unwanted pests and diseases,” Ms Jarvis said.
“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.”