Media Release

Seamless transition to enhanced international screening measures for Ebola

17 November 2014

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, today visited Australia’s busiest international airport, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith, to see enhanced traveller screening measures in operation.
 
“Extra screening measures to keep our community safe from the low risk that the ebola virus could enter Australia have been in operation at all international airports over the weekend and have not caused significant disruption,” Minister Joyce said.
 
“My department’s biosecurity officers have worked hard to integrate these visible border measures into the airport environment so that passengers are not inconvenienced.
 
“The new travel history card, educational materials and temperature checks have all been implemented on advice from the Department of Health.
 
“I have been impressed by the work undertaken between the two departments to develop and rollout such a significant change to operations in such a short timeframe – and in such a busy environment.
 
“Since the Australian Government first increased measures to manage the ebola threat in early August about 1300 travellers from ebola affected countries have passed through our international airports – and of those 36 have been referred to state medical officers for further advice. None of them have needed further medical intervention.
 
“What this shows is the importance of having a strong and seamless biosecurity system to cover human health, plant health and animal health.
 
“I want to commend our frontline officers for their work in implementing measures that give the community strong assurance that Australia has the right defences against this insidious disease.
 
“I also want to thank the Department of Health’s medical experts as well as those in my own department who have been working behind the scenes to implement these important measures,” Minister Joyce said.