If you don’t want to end up on Santa’s naughty list this year, make sure you know which items you can’t bring in, or send in parcels, to Western Australia this holiday season.
December and January are busy times of the year for the Perth mail and parcel centres, and for travel into WA.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Quarantine WA service works on the frontline checking air, road, rail, mail and sea entry points to the State for risk materials to help keep the State free of harmful pests, diseases and weeds.
Quarantine WA manager Louise Smith said exotic pests and diseases could have a significant impact WA’s $8.2 billion agriculture and food industry so it was important for everyone to be aware of the quarantine restrictions and surrender any risk items.
“Do not send or bring gifts containing fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, plants and walnuts which can harbour pests, diseases and weeds,” Ms Smith said.
“Potted plants, plant materials and seeds can’t be brought in, and people are asked to make sure shoes are free of soil.
“Remember, also if you are travelling with animals, other than cats or dogs, make sure you check if you need a permit to bring them into WA.”
Ms Smith said at this time of the year, officers often saw an increase in stone fruit, particularly mangoes and cherries, honey in Christmas hampers and plants as presents.
“Last year’s holiday period, December 2016 to January 2017, saw more than 189,000 passengers screened by detector dogs at the Perth Domestic Airport, resulting in almost 1700kg of fruit, vegetables and honey seized and surrendered,” Ms Smith said.
“At the road checkpoints, 13,275 vehicles were inspected at Eucla and 4,012 at Kununurra. More than 3,700kg of material was seized and surrendered, including 374kg of honey.
“At the Perth Parcel Centre, 1,071 parcels were inspected in December 2016 with 13 held for quarantine, while at the Express Mail Service, 630 parcels were inspected and 122 held, mainly for containing soil.
“Honey can carry diseases such as European foulbrood, which can potentially wipe out 90 per cent of young bees larvae if it was to become established in WA.
“Apples can contain pests such as codling moth, fresh chillies can have diseases such as bacterial spot and potted plants can hide red imported fire ants in their soil and leaves.
“WA has a global reputation for producing clean, green and safe agricultural and food products so it important we keep out unwanted pests, diseases and weeds.”
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Katrina Bowers, media liaison, +61 (0)8 9368 3937/3789