Bio-risks intercepted

By Country News

Australian biosecurity officers intercepted more than 350000 items of biosecurity concern across the country in 2018, with about 60000 items sniffed out by biosecurity detector dogs.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ biosecurity head Lyn O’Connell said intercepted items included foods, plants, seeds, wood and animal material, as well as some other significant finds.

‘‘2018 was a huge year for the department with a number of notable interceptions, the opening of two new international airports in Avalon and Newcastle and a range of other important biosecurity activities,’’ Ms O’Connell said.

‘‘Across the major international airports we intercepted more than 100000 biosecurity risk items in Sydney, close to 60000 items in Melbourne and 43000 in Perth.

‘‘Significant airport interceptions included two live squirrels, an NBL player’s French bulldog and citrus budwood that was found to be carrying one of the world’s worst citrus diseases. We also intercepted live succulent plants concealed in chip packets, giant African snails, lollipops with scorpions inside, a pillow full of seeds and an Asian black-spined toad.

‘‘Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility and these interceptions highlight the importance of following our conditions and not bringing or sending risk items to Australia.’’

■For more information on Australia’s biosecurity conditions, visit: