Australia is a nation of great size, and for many people, taking long road trips to experience much of what Australia has to offer can be a rewarding experience. For others, like truck drivers, their long distance driving often provides towns and cities the goods and services they require to remain sustainable.
Whatever your reason for hitting the open road, it is important to understand your responsibilities when it comes to biosecurity and the role long-distance drivers can play.
Similar to domestic flying, there are restrictions on what you can carry with you as you cross state and other quarantine borders within Australia.
Travellers face on-the-spot fines for taking prohibited items across borders.
These laws are in place to protect our environment, agricultural industries and economy from harmful pests and diseases prevalent in other parts of the world.
There are a number of ways you can ensure your long distance driving is safe and does not pose a biosecurity risk to Australia.
Check your gear
Long distance driving can often involve recreational activities such as hiking, fishing and camping. The equipment used during these adventures, such as fishing rods and hiking boots, can collect soil, plant material and water.
To ensure you can keep enjoying such adventures, biosecurity needs to be considered to help keep our forests and waterways healthy.
Before loading and unloading your gear, check for any unwanted guests (e.g. pest insects or plant material). This is an easy, yet effective method to do your bit and help maintain Australian biosecurity.
If you see something that doesn’t look right, secure it and phone 1800 798 636.
Clean your vehicle
If it can move, it can transport pests and diseases harmful to all of Australia.
For this reason, long-distance drivers present a risk due to their travel (particularly in rural areas) and the potential for them to have hitch-hiking pests or soil adherence containing disease. There is a high potential for either of these to dislodge and then establish in a rural area, which poses a risk to the economy and the livelihoods of the local area(s) being travelled through.
For these reasons, cleaning your vehicle to ensure it is free from insects, mud and soil is an easy solution to maintaining correct biosecurity procedures.
Cleaning your vehicle is particularly relevant if you are accessing farms or areas that have high levels of produce and livestock. Farms often have a high potential for pests and diseases and often have their own biosecurity practices in place. If you are visiting farms, be sure to consult with the farm manager for the most up to date information.
Australia is free of the world's worst animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. Animal pests and diseases are a major threat to Australia's livestock and poultry industries.
To ensure everybody can continue to benefit from these industries, long distance drivers need to understand best practice during livestock transportation and report the first signs of disease.
Recommended best practices includes,
- Avoiding accumulations of manure and urine during and after trips
- Using amenities for hosing and mucking out of transport vehicles at or close to loading/unloading depots
- Ensure livestock from the property of origin or destination are free of pests and diseases to prevent cross-contamination
- Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected regularly using disinfectants that kill bacteria and viruses
- Livestock should not be loaded on to contaminated vehicles.
Following these steps will help to ensure correct biosecurity practices are upheld. They will maintain the animal’s health and allow for Australia to remain the beautiful, prosperous country that it is.