​Media release

Cattle dung and insect soup – just another day in the office for Perth biosecurity officers​

25 March 2018

  • Almost 50,000 biosecurity risk items intercepted at Perth Airport in 2017
  • Includes cattle dung and urine, live earthworms, fried bugs and grasshoppers
  • Australian biosecurity safeguards Australia from significant pests and diseases that can impact on environment, industries, plant, animal and human health
Fried bugs are on the menu for biosecurity officers at Perth’s International Airport, with an increased number of potentially hazardous food and plant items intercepted over the past 12 months.

WA’s biosecurity officers continue to defend Australia against potentially devastating invaders - pests and diseases - with almost 50,000 biosecurity risk items intercepted in 2017.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said with the new International precinct at Perth Airport and new Qantas Dreamliner, more international travelers will be making the trip down under, keeping biosecurity officers on their toes.

“In 2017, Perth’s biosecurity officers seized thousands of food items including 6,860 kilos of meat, 1,450 kilos of seafood, 634 kilos of citrus and 400 kilos of fungi like mushrooms,” Minister Littleproud said.

“These officers are defending our nation from invading pests and diseases, which could put our farmers out of business and threaten our food supply. 

“Perth’s 69 strong team have intercepted items including insect soup, live earthworms, cattle dung and urine and fried bugs.

“Around 500 frontline staff at Australia’s international airports help preserve Australia’s food and farmers by intercepting items that could carry exotic pests and diseases into the country.

“With more tourists coming to Australia and the new Qantas Dreamliner opening up new long haul destinations, our frontline biosecurity will be more important than ever.

“Australian farmers produce clean green produce and we need to protect this $63 billion industry.

“Our agriculture sector supports millions of Australian jobs, from the grower right through to the retailer, and these are jobs that deserve the Australian Government’s protection.

“We take our hats off to the biosecurity officers who save our bacon day in day out.”

In addition to the $100 million the Coalition Government has committed to fight pests and weeds, a further $200 million has been delivered over four years to strengthen and improve Australia’s biosecurity system through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

For more information on what can and can’t be brought to Australia, visit: agriculture.gov.au/travelling​.

Fast Facts:
  • Some 340,000 biosecurity risk items were intercepted across Australia’s airports, seaports and mail centres in 2017
  • ABARES estimates that Australia's biosecurity system saves farmers up to $17,500 per farm per year.
  • On average, Australia's detector dog teams intercept more than 50,000 biosecurity risk items across Australia each year
  • Since 2013, the Coalition has increased biosecurity investment by over 29 per cent, totalling $783.2 million this financial year.