Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Visitors asked to check for unwelcome guests

    1/07/2005 12:00 AM

    Agriculture Minister Kim Chance today asked tourists heading for the State’s remote, rugged and beautiful North-West to ensure they did not bring with them any unwelcome pests.

    As the dry season draws tourists to the North-West from across Western Australia and interstate, visitors are being asked to make sure they do not bring potentially devastating ‘hitchhikers’ along with them.

    “While the need to check for cane toads has had plenty of publicity we would also ask visitors to follow some simple rules to avoid bringing lesser known but devastating pests into the north west such as Mediterranean fruit fly or weeds such as Cabomba which invades freshwater systems,” Mr Chance said.

    “Always check your vehicles, caravans, camping gear, bedding and clothing. Always wash your vehicles to clear off soil or mud that might carry seeds or plant matter and please do not take fruit into the Ord River irrigation area.”

    The Minister said stone or citrus fruit could easily carry Mediterranean fruit fly into the Ord River irrigation area - a key fruit growing region of WA and one that is so far free of the damaging pest.

    “Reminder signs have been placed at the roadside on entering the Kimberley and fruit disposal bins have been placed at the side of the road at Warmun (Turkey Creek) and at the Cockburn rest stop (at the junction of the Great Northern Highway and the Victoria Highway),” Mr Chance said.

    “Posters and brochures are also being displayed at tourist centres throughout the North-West and in the Northern Territory to remind people of the need to be vigilant.”

    Visitors were also reminded to take the same precautions on leaving the area to avoid spreading pests such as Noogoora Burr to other parts of the country.

    Out-of-state visitors are urged to check with their State Department of Agriculture or tourism centre to check on WA’s quarantine restrictions. For example, honey is not allowed into WA because of the threat of European Foul Brood.

    Mr Chance praised the work of quarantine inspectors in helping to protect WA’s natural environment.

    “They are in the front line in helping to protect our plant and animal industries and the work they do is much appreciated,” he said.

    “The Gallop Government is committed to protecting and enhancing Western Australia’s unique environment.”

    Minister's office: 9213 6700

    A list of tips for travellers is below:

    If entering our State’s north from interstate
    As we know from continuing publicity, the cane toad is encroaching westwards across the top of Australia and is now about 300km from the WA border in the Victoria River area of the Northern Territory. Travellers camping in the north, around Katherine or Kununurra, and especially in the Northern Territory and other areas where cane toads are established, need to ensure none have ‘hitched a ride’ in their camping gear, bedding and clothing items, or in their vehicle or with goods. Travellers are encouraged to report any possible cane toad sightings to the Pest and Disease Information Service on Freecall 1800 084 881, or 9368 3666, email

    If travelling into the Ord River Irrigation Area from the south
    To avoid the possibility of introducing Mediterranean fruit fly to the Ord River irrigation area, which is presently free of this pest, do not take stone fruit or citrus fruit into this area from April 1 to November 30. Reminder signs for the travelling public have been placed at the roadside on entering the Kimberley and further quarantine notices and fruit disposal bins have been placed at the side of the road at Warmun (Turkey Creek) and at the Cockburn rest stop (at the junction of the Great Northern Highway and the Victoria Highway).

    Do not spread weed seeds from the north
    It’s good practice when travelling across large areas, and especially when you go off-road, to clean your vehicle regularly of soil or mud, seeds and plant matter to avoid the spread of weeds. Once into the Kimberley, and especially if camping on the Fitzroy River, lower Ord River or the Victoria River in the Northern Territory, ensure Noogoora burr has not been picked up in camping gear or by the vehicle. Noogoora burr can also easily lodge in ‘throw nets’.

    Other useful tips
    For out-of-state visitors, check with your State Department of Agriculture or tourism centre about WA’s quarantine requirements before coming into the State. Travellers coming into WA are often disappointed to find honey is seized at the border. This is to avoid the risk of introducing European Foul Brood, a serious disease of apiaries. In 2003-04, nearly 1,400kg of honey was seized at the southern Eucla checkpoint and nearly 1,000 kg at the Kununurra checkpoint.

    And in the same year, nearly 11 tonnes of goods, mostly fruit and vegetables, were seized from motorists passing through the Eucla checkpoint, and nearly 10 tonnes at Kununurra. Most fresh fruit and vegetables are restricted for entry into WA because of the risk of introducing serious diseases. Aim to use up supplies before the WA border and re-stock upon arrival.

    While dried fruit and commercially-processed fruit and vegetables are of low risk (but will be inspected), most frozen foods and cooked or tinned foods are allowed. As you approach the border, read the road signs for instructions about quarantine. And when approached by the quarantine inspectors, have a kind word for them. They are the front line in helping to protect our plant industries and they operate the border checkpoints at Eucla and Kununurra 24 hours a day in all weathers.

    For further information
    Visit the website of the Department of Agriculture ’s Western Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (WAQIS) at Or call 9334 1800, or email

    Travellers may also wish to obtain the brochure ‘Travellers guide keep WA clean, quarantine’ from any office of the Department of Agriculture. It provides useful information on the restrictions for fresh fruit and vegetables including when certification is not required, and WA’s quarantine requirements for bringing pets into the State.