Media Release

Industry efforts key to success in keeping stink bugs out of Australia​

5 May 2015

The Australian Government today expressed its appreciation for the efforts of industry in helping keep Australia free of an exotic type of stink bug.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the work of industry across the ports and shipping lines had been integral in responding to the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs entering Australia.

“Biosecurity officers started to intercept significant and unprecedented numbers of the bugs on vessels transporting vehicles from the United States in late December,” Minister Joyce said.

“Emergency response measures were swiftly put in place, which involved new and used trucks, boats, cars and pieces of machinery imported from the United States being treated to manage the risk that they could be hiding these unwanted hitchhikers.  The emergency measures have now been concluded.

“A response on this scale is a massive undertaking. We could not have done it without the assistance and cooperation of industry—the ports, shipping lines, importers, brokers and manufacturers—and we are very appreciative of their efforts in helping keep these damaging stink bugs out of Australia.

“These stink bugs are only the size of a five cent coin—and unlike similar bugs that are already in Australia, this species is a pest to about 300 plant species including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants. They could have a significant impact on Australia’s $9 billion horticulture sector.

“My department will now be building on the lessons of this successful response and considering, with industry, how we deal with these hitchhiking pests in the future.”

From 23 February 2015, vehicles (including boats), machinery, and automotive parts arriving in Australia before 30 April 2015 from east coast ports of the US—and from 9 March from all US ports—had to be treated before departure.

The Department of Agriculture’s biosecurity officers increased the level of inspection and surveillance to ensure the measures applied off-shore were managing the risk appropriately.

The Department of Agriculture works off-shore, at the border and on-shore to safeguard our people, our unique environment and our $52 billion agricultural industries from many of the pests and diseases present in other parts of the world. ​