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Australia protected from 340,000 potential biosecurity breaches

Giant African Snail. Image courtesy of Australian Government

Sydney’s biosecurity officers and detector dogs continue to defend Australia against potentially devastating invaders – pests and diseases – with more than 120,000 biosecurity risk items intercepted at Sydney Airport in 2017.

Speaking from Australia’s busiest airport in Sydney, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the team and their counterparts around Australia intercept and neutralise more than 5000 threats a week.

“The 165 women and men stationed at Sydney Airport are on our front line, defending Australia and our clean, green farms and food from invading diseases and pests,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Agriculture, fisheries and forestry employ more than 300,000 Australians, pump $63 billion to our economy and supply 93 per cent of our domestic food according to the NFF, so it’s worth protecting.

“Confiscated items include duck tongues, chicken feet, cooked eggs, a barbequed rat, lizard’s feet and skinned frogs.

“Any one of the intercepted items could be carrying deadly pests or diseases which could decimate Australian farming and our environment – or carry a disease affecting humans.

“In 2017, the biosecurity team at Sydney Airport seized more than 20,000 kilograms of meat, around 7000 kilograms of seafood, 3000 kilograms of seeds and 2000 kilograms of bananas.

“We continue to improve the system to protect our $63 billion agricultural industries, the environment and community health.

“We thank the women and men who work day and night to keep our country safe from threats to our farming, our food and our health. They are some of Australia’s finest.”

The Government has delivered up to $200 million over four years to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, on top of an additional $100 million to fight pests and weeds.

Since 2013, the Government has increased biosecurity investment by over 29 per cent, totalling $783.2 million in the 2017-18 financial year.

Source: Australian Government

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