The RTT 3D X-ray unit at the Melbourne mail centre recently discovered 107 live succulent plants with soil concealed in socks. The succulents were destroyed as they posed an unacceptable biosecurity risk.
Head of Biosecurity at the Department, Andrew Tongue said plant material such as live plants, seeds or bulbs could introduce unwanted foreign pests, diseases and invasive plant species into Australia.
“Exotic plant pests are capable of destroying our food production and agriculture industries, damaging our natural environment, and some could change our way of life.,” Mr Tongue said.
“They can significantly damage our unique environment and impact on crops that we rely on for food production.
“Exotic invasive plants and weeds also threaten the survival of many plants—as well as native animals—by competing with native plants for space, nutrients and sunlight.
“Australia is free from many of the invasive plants and weeds that are present in other parts of the world. Biosecurity is about keeping it that way.
“To minimise this risk, we have strict import conditions for all live plant material coming into the country.
“The department is investing in innovative border screening technologies, including the 3D x-ray that detected these succulents, to ensure we remain the world leader in biosecurity.
“We are also constantly working to find new and better ways to manage the impact of invasive plants and weeds that we do have in Australia.
“Our work is important, but biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and we can all do our part to protect Australia from exotic pests, invasive plants and weeds.
“Don’t bring plants into Australia from overseas without following our biosecurity import regulations and keep an eye out and report any suspicious pests, plants or weeds that you might think are invasive or exotic.”
Find out more about what is and isn’t permitted into the country and, if permitted, what import conditions need to be met - Sending or ordering goods online from outside Australia (http://www.agriculture.gov.au/mailing-goods).