Western Australia has boosted its quarantine presence at Perth’s domestic airport with upgraded services and a new look for quarantine officers and their dogs.
Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance today announced that the number of quarantine inspectors at the airport would increase from four to six people and the number of detector dogs would double from three to six.
“Quarantine WA is now more easily recognised at all checkpoints, with a new distinctly branded uniform in blue and gold, and our detector dogs will wear the same colours,” Mr Chance said.
“Clearly recognisable quarantine inspection stations are also being installed in the airport terminals.”
The Minister said the new measures had become necessary due to an increase in domestic passengers arriving in Perth, plus increased interstate road and rail trade and travel.
“Last year, more than 1.7 million air passengers arriving in WA from interstate were checked,” he said.
“Quarantine staff confiscated 2,486 kilos of fruit and vegetables. A further 13,111 kilos of quarantine risk material were placed in the amnesty bins in WA.”
Mr Chance said the detection of quarantine risk material in interstate mail had been made easier as well, with the installation of a new state-of-the-art RapiScan x-ray machine at the Australia Post Parcels Centre.
“There are also plans to introduce a new active detector dog to the postal centre in July to further boost detection capabilities,” he said.
“Quarantine inspections at the road checkpoints on the border continue to be maintained on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis, and will continue to inspect all vehicles entering the State.”
The Minister said WA enjoyed a reputation for high standards of product integrity and safety, which provided access to lucrative overseas markets.
“This reputation depends on our ability to remain free of many exotic pests, diseases and weeds that are present elsewhere,” he said.
“Of our agricultural produce, 80 per cent is exported globally, earning WA $5.5billion annually. Freedom from harmful organisms ensures this trade continues and expands, sustaining jobs in the State, especially in regional areas.”
Mr Chance said tourism, another extremely valuable industry for WA, presented the need to guard against increased quarantine threats.
“Visitors can unintentionally introduce harmful organisms,” he said.
“For example, a passenger who fails to put fruit from interstate into an amnesty bin could introduce pathogens or pest insects capable of devastating our horticultural industries, which are worth $673million a year.
“Tourists and tourism operators can help to spread the word about prohibited items. Armed with the right facts, people can choose not to carry quarantine risk material and avoid being fined for contravening regulations.”
Strengthened biosecurity regulations under the new Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act are also being developed.
The Minister said Quarantine WA had also produced many brochures for both private travellers and commercial clients, with information on prohibited items and the reasons behind the rules.
“Upgrading Quarantine WA’s services further protects the State’s primary industries, natural environment and lifestyle,” he said.
“Raising public awareness also helps people to realise the positive contribution they can make as individuals.
“Boosting our quarantine presence at the domestic airport will assist in keeping our WA borders safe by promoting a better understanding of the need for good quarantine measures.”
Minister's office: 9213 6700