Travellers heading beyond the city limits to enjoy the splendour of spring in the countryside have been reminded not to enter farmers’ properties and risk a biosecurity incident.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development grains biosecurity officer Jeff Russell said while good rains had boosted crops this year, it also heightened the risk of plant pests and diseases.
Mr Russell said visitors could unknowingly spread pests, weeds or diseases, which could risk farmers’ livelihoods.
“Tourists and day trippers looking at crops such as flowering canola could easily spread weed seeds and soil material that may contain a fungal disease on their footwear or vehicles to other properties, which could devastate crops,” he said.
“Visitors are welcome to admire crops and take photographs from the road verge but it is illegal and far too great a biosecurity risk to jump the fence.”
Mr Russell said tourists were most welcome in the regions and could assist the department’s pest and disease surveillance efforts.
“Visitors can assist farmers and the department by monitoring road verges for pests and diseases,” he said.
“Download the free MyPestGuideTM Reporter app, take a photograph of any insects or plant diseases on the road verge and send it to the department and we’ll send you back a diagnosis and determination of whether it is a risk to crops.”
Mr Russell said the public’s support of the State’s biosecurity defences was appreciated in protecting Western Australia’s enviable reputation, which is imperative for market access.
“Good biosecurity is a partnership between government, industry and the community and the public plays a key role in the first line of defence,” he said.
“Assisting roadside monitoring is a great way for the public to help our farmers, however, please be careful where you park your vehicle so that you don’t become a traffic hazard.”
To find more information about best places to see wildflowers or visit a working farm, visit a regional tourist centre.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937