Hon Mark Lewis M. App. Sci. MLC

Hon Mark Lewis M. App. Sci. MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food

    Sniffing out threats to protect agriculture

    29/09/2016 10:40 AM
    • Two new detector dogs for WA quarantine service 

    Western Australia has two new quarantine detector dogs sniffing out potential threats to protect the State's agriculture and food sector from harmful pests, weeds and diseases.


    Two new labradors - Molly and Sam - joined the Department of Agriculture and Food's Quarantine WA service detector dog unit earlier this month, replacing two retiring dogs.


    Molly and Sam have come from Sydney where they have been training for 10 weeks.


    The dogs are continuing to train at Perth domestic airport terminals with Quarantine WA to be ready to protect the borders.


    Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said the Quarantine WA service worked hard to maintain WA's biosecurity status by preventing the introduction of exotic pests, diseases and weeds found in other States and Territories of Australia.


    "The detector dog unit is one example of this work.  The unit has six dogs who work in shifts at the Perth domestic airport meeting passengers off flights and checking luggage for unwanted items such as fruit and vegetables, honey and plant material," Mr Lewis said.


    "Last financial year there were more than 4,000 intercepts of risk material at the airport. Detections included 68 large bananas, 10 kilograms of honey, 29 mangoes, 10kg of eggplant and 46kg of cassava.


    "By keeping WA free of serious weeds, pests and diseases such as khapra beetle, varroa mite and Queensland fruit fly, our agricultural industries enjoy lower production costs and greater market access.


    "Strong border biosecurity also limits the impact of pests, weeds and diseases such as myrtle rust can impact on the environment and our social amenities.


    "Preventing new pests and diseases entering the State is more cost effective than trying to eradicate them when established."


    Fact File

    • Sam is a chocolate labrador who is 19 months old and comes from a NSW kennel facility.  Molly is a golden labrador who is 17 months old and comes from Labrador Rescue in NSW
    • Sam and Molly replace retired dogs Oscar and Charlie Brown 

    Minister's office - 6552 6400


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