Media Release

Timber pallet pests stamped out

24 October 2014

Australia’s forest and timber industries can be reassured that the biosecurity system is working with the successful eradication of timber pests detected on imported pallets in June.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the successful eradication of the timber pests across multiple states was a result of close cooperation between affected companies, industry partners, state and territory authorities and biosecurity experts from the Department of Agriculture.

“Managing pest and disease threats is a big job. It’s not as simple as spotting a bug then getting the old boot out. It’s a massive coordinated effort with eyes and ears on the ground – as well as right across the biosecurity continuum, at the border, on-shore and even off-shore,” Minister Joyce said.

“Our biosecurity management system is grounded in science, and in this case the best scientific advice helped our response efforts – by identifying the pests to ensure we were able to put in place the most effective measures to neutralise the biosecurity risk.”

On-shore final pest response activities included the destruction of over 23,000 potentially infested pallets in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. Traps were also placed at warehouse locations in Botany, Kewedale, Edinburgh North, Hendon, West Melbourne, Altona and Coopers Plain.  These traps will be removed in the coming weeks as no beetles have been detected since 4 August 2014.

Off-shore work continues with trading partners to improve confidence in import certification under International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) and compliance with requirements.

“Australia continues to be free from many of the pests and diseases that have affected agricultural industries in other parts of the world,” Minister Joyce said.

“This detection was met with swift action to contain, quarantine and fumigate the pallets, as well as to set up surveillance activities and traps at a number of warehouses.

“I commend the companies involved for their cooperation and their commitment to maintaining Australia’s biosecurity.

“By working together to stamp out pests and diseases before they are established we are helping protect Australia’s valuable agricultural industries, our unique environment and our way of life.

“It’s a difficult and complex business to manage Australia’s biosecurity system, but with around $50 billion a year worth of agricultural industries at stake, it’s an important one,” Minister Joyce said.