Northern travellers should be wary of 'hitchhiker' pests
Northern travellers crossing into Western Australia need to be aware of their important role in safeguarding the State from unwanted ‘hitchhiker’ pests.
This reminder from the Department of Agriculture and Food Border Biosecurity comes as the tourist season in the north ramps up, with the department requesting that travellers be vigilant to avoid the spread of pests and diseases.
Department of Agriculture and Food Border Biosecurity Director Greg Pickles said Western Australia had an enviable biosecurity status – free of many pests and diseases found elsewhere in Australia.
The Kununurra road checkpoint, operated by the department’s Quarantine WA service, operates 24 hours a day, inspecting vehicles and ensuring travellers are aware of their quarantine obligations.
"To help protect the State, incoming travellers must declare all quarantine risk materials they’re carrying, including fruit, vegetables, honey and seeds," Mr Pickles said.
"These products could harbour unwanted ‘hitchhiker’ pests or diseases, which could impact on our State’s vital agriculture industry and pristine environment."
Quarantine WA’s Kununurra road checkpoint inspected 5733 vehicles and seized more than 900kg of quarantine risk material in the first quarter of 2015. These numbers increase during the tourist season, which generally runs from April to September.
Quarantine WA officer in charge at Kununurra Kenneth Bin Jacob said travellers should also ensure their vehicle and all camping gear is clean of soil, seeds and other pests.
Quarantine risk material can be confiscated and penalties may apply if risk items are not declared to inspectors on arrival in WA.
Inspections also target the regional airport, mail centre, and transport, freight distribution and retail premises. Quarantine WA also undertakes inspections at other key road, rail, air and post entry points into WA.
More information on Western Australian quarantine regulations is available on the department website agric.wa.gov.au