AUSTRALIAN biosecurity officers at Perth International Airport seized more than 22.4 tonnes of biosecurity risk items, including more than 890 kilograms of grains, from arriving passengers in 2016, a 38 per cent increase on 2015 rates.
Head of biosecurity operations at the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Nico Padovan, said Perth was the only airport in Australia that had an increased seizure rate in all categories of biosecurity concern.
“Despite an increase in passenger numbers of only 5 per cent, Perth Airport has seen an increase in meat seized from international passengers of 20 per cent by weight—and a staggering 81 per cent increase in seafood seizures by weight,” he said.
Mr Padovan said the increase in risky items coming in through Perth put Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industries at risk.
“For example, more than 890kg of grains was seized at Perth Airport in 2016, any of which could be carrying karnal bunt,” he said.
“Karnal bunt could decimate Western Australia’s wheat industry—responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s total wheat production—and wipe up to $3 billion off the state economy.”
Items seized at the Perth Airport in 2016 included:
- 6120kg of meat, a 20 per cent increase from 2015
- 2214kg of legumes, a 45 per cent increase from 2015
- 1267kg of seafood, a 81 per cent increase from 2015
- 326kg of herbs and spices, a 165 per cent increase from 2015
- 353kg of mushroom and fungi, a 106 per cent increase from 2015.
“Across Australia 273,000 items of biosecurity concern were seized in 2016, up by more than 6 per cent from 2015,” Mr Padovan said.
Source: Dept of Ag and Water Resources, agriculture.gov.au/travelling