Hon Mark Lewis M. App. Sci. MLC

Hon Mark Lewis M. App. Sci. MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food

    Keep WA free of 'unwanted gifts' this holiday season

    2/12/2016 9:00 AM
     
    • State Government spending $7.6 million on border biosecurity
    • Department of Agriculture and Food's Quarantine WA, the frontline for defence

    Keeping Western Australia free of 'unwanted gifts' this holiday season will help to protect our State's $7.9 billion agriculture export industry.

     

    Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said December and January were not only busy months for travel but also for the Perth Mail and Parcel centres, with many gifts arriving from interstate for Christmas.

     

    "It is vital we prevent the introduction of exotic pests, weeds and diseases into WA to protect the State's global reputation for providing clean, green and safe premium agriculture and food products," Mr Lewis said.

     

    "This will ensure our agricultural industries benefit from lower production costs and greater market access opportunities. 

     

    "It will also help maintain WA's natural environment, biodiversity and social amenity."

     

    The Minister said the Department of Agriculture and Food's Quarantine WA worked on the frontline checking air, road, rail, mail and sea entry points into the State for unwanted risk materials.

     

    "The State Government, through the Department of Agriculture and Food, will spend $7.6 million over 2016-17, protecting our borders," he said.

     

    "Part of this commitment is having quarantine inspectors stationed in various locations across WA, and six quarantine detector dogs working at the Perth domestic airport terminals.

     

    "Some recent interceptions by quarantine inspectors at the Perth Mail Centre include a grapevine, 3.5 kilograms of bananas, five mangoes, 21 potatoes and various packets of seed.

     

    "Almost two tonnes of quarantine risk material was seized from 4,000 passengers at the Perth domestic airport.

     

    "Inspectors at both the WA-SA and WA-NT road checkpoints inspect or facilitate entry requirements for every vehicle coming into WA, whether it be car, truck, bus or bike. This adds up to more than 100,000 vehicles every year."

     

    Mr Lewis said travellers may not realise that products such as honey and walnuts in shells, or even apples in the car, posed a real and significant threat to WA's agricultural industries and environment.

     

    "Should a disease carried in honey, such as European foulbrood, establish in WA, it would have a devastating impact on the bee industry, with the potential to wipe out up to 90 per cent of young bee larvae," he said.

     

    "Other pests WA is free of, such as Queensland fruit fly, give our horticulture producers a competitive edge in global markets."

     

    Fact File

    During the 2015-16 financial year:

    • Nearly 78,000 vehicles were inspected for quarantine risk material at the WA-SA road checkpoint
    • At the WA-NT road checkpoint, nearly 43,000 vehicles were inspected
    • 17,104 parcels were inspected at the Perth Parcel Centre
    • 7,152 parcels were inspected at Express Mail Service
    • 24,152 interstate border inspections were undertaken at the markets and at metropolitan premises

    Minister's office - 6552 6400

     

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