​​​Media Release 

Seeing straight through biosecurity risks​

14 November 2018

  • ​New 3D X-ray unit will screen passengers, cargo and mail at Melbourne International airport
  • 12 month trial a global first in collaboration with Biosecurity NZ 
  • High-tech computer program designed for instant identification of high-risk items
A world-first 3D X-ray unit will help detect biosecurity risks faster and more effectively from today.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said a year-long trial would begin today of the Rapiscan RTT 110 X-Ray unit at Melbourne International Airport—a huge step forward for our biosecurity.

“Our clean green reputation makes Australian produce valued overseas and we have to protect that,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re seeing more people, mail and cargo come through our borders. ​

“That means more risk to Aussie farmers and we’ve got to stay on top of it. We need to make sure they’re not bringing in pests or items carrying pests, which could destroy our farm sector.

“Our biosecurity officers do a great job but they can’t check every bag.

“Australia is a world leader in biosecurity and we always strive to be better. New technology like this X-ray unit is an important part of keeping pests out.

“This world-first trial with Biosecurity NZ will change the way we work for the better.”

X-ray images from Melbourne and Auckland airports will be combined into an image library then used to create an algorithm that can instantly identify high-risk items.

The algorithm will be trialled with fruit for six-months, then on vegetables, seeds and meat.

Biosecurity screening provides critical protection for Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industries and the health of our communities, environment and the national economy.

Fast Facts:
  • Trialling new X-Ray technologies is part of a $7.5 million initiative in the 2018–19 Federal Budget.
  • The Rapiscan RTT®110 X-Ray unit will be used to detect plant and animal risks in international airports, mail centres and air cargo depots in collaboration with Biosecurity NZ.