Western Australia’s frontline biosecurity defences are focusing on mail in the lead up to Christmas to make sure no unwanted gifts arrive in the post this festive season.
A Quarantine WA inspector, appointed earlier this year, and detector dog have been dedicated to undertaking screening of freight and mail at freight yards and Australia Post locations across the metropolitan area.
Additional inspectors and detector dogs are also supporting the screening of freight and mail due to the reduced number of interstate passenger flights arriving into WA.
This is vitally important in the lead up to Christmas to make sure items coming into WA via post are not carrying unwanted pests, disease and weeds that have the potential to impact the State’s $11 billion agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries industries and natural resources.
The number of screened items is expected to increase significantly in December with people sending presents through the mail and doing their shopping online.
Some of the items people shouldn’t be sending for Christmas, or at any time of the year, include fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, seeds, plants, bunches of flowers and walnuts in shell.
From July 1 to September 30 this year almost 600,000 mail items were screened by Quarantine WA detector dogs resulting in the interception of risk items including 4.2kg of mangoes, 15kgs of Asian cucumber and rockmelon, three bunches of lychees and two bunches of longans.
For more information about quarantine requirements for WA visit https://www.agric.wa.gov.au
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Please don’t let your Christmas online shopping become a biosecurity nightmare for our farmers.
“Many people are unaware that popular Christmas produce like cherries, stonefruit, honey, walnuts in shell and flowers pose a major biosecurity risk to our State, potentially carrying highly destructive pests and diseases into our community.
“Christmas is peak activity time for our Quarantine WA inspectors. Having a dedicated quarantine officer and detector dog screening our mail and freight helps us to stay on top of the fight against unwanted pests, diseases and weeds coming into our State.
“Unwanted pests and diseases can increase costs for primary producers, and disrupt export and domestic trade for agriculture, forest, aquaculture and commercial fishing, as well as affect our unique environment, biodiversity and way of life.”