With the festive season fast approaching it’s important to be aware of which items you can’t bring in, or send to Western Australia.
Fruits and vegetables, seeds, plants and honey are all on the hit list of items which can harbour unwanted pests, diseases and weeds, and could put the State’s valuable agriculture and food sector at risk.
The December and January holiday period is the busiest time of year for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s quarantine inspectors at the Perth airport, road checkpoints at the South Australian and Northern Territory borders, Perth Mail Centres and at the Canning Vale markets.
DPIRD Quarantine WA manager Louise Smith said exotic pests and diseases could have a significant impact on WA’s $8.6 billion agriculture and food industry so it was important for everyone to be aware of the quarantine restrictions and to surrender any risk items.
“At this time of the year, we often see an increase in stone fruit, particularly mangoes and cherries, honey in Christmas hampers and plants as presents,” Ms Smith said.
“Fruit flies are an example of a destructive pest that can attack more than 250 fruits and vegetables, with their eggs and larvae hidden inside infested fruit.
“Russian wheat aphid is another potential threat to our grain industry, and travellers can do their part to keep it out by brushing down luggage, washing hands and wiping shoes before heading into WA.”
Ms Smith advised that while weeds have no legs they can still travel, and their needles, thorns and burrs assist with the dispersal of many invasive weeds.
“Noogoorra burr, which is poisonous to stock at the seedling stage, can easily attach to clothing, shoes, camping gear and pets fur,” she said.
Ms Smith said the community can also play a vital role by warning and educating relatives or friends who are likely to post or bring in items that would breach quarantine and could result in a fine.
“The last thing we want to do around the festive period is issue penalties to people who simply might not be aware of the rules,” Ms Smith said.
“WA has an enviable biosecurity status and is free of many exotic pests and diseases which are found elsewhere in Australia.
“So it’s really important we continue to communicate the importance of biosecurity awareness and our quarantine rules and remain vigilant to protect our State.”
More information on quarantine restrictions for WA are available on here.
Jodie Thomson, DPIRD media liaison (08) 9368 3937