Media statement on Detector dog redeployed to assist with African swine fever biosecurity operations

To assist with the department’s response to African swine fever (ASF) the detector dog, Suki, currently deployed on Norfolk Island has been redeployed to Darwin.

Australia is facing an increasing threat of ASF, a highly contagious viral disease of pigs with no vaccine currently available.

ASF is spreading rapidly overseas with significant pig losses being experienced in infected countries. The department is boosting biosecurity effort at international airports to target flights from countries affected by ASF, with detector dogs playing an important role.

Norfolk Island is the only location in Australia with detector dog capability that does not receive direct flights or trade from ASF risk countries. The department must ensure that resources are targeted to the pathways that present the highest biosecurity risk. Darwin is in close proximity to and receives direct flights from Timor-Leste, where ASF has most recently been reported.

The department is cognisant of Norfolk Island’s unique biosecurity status and will continue to appropriately manage biosecurity risk using other detection technologies. These include x-ray screening capability, risk assessment by biosecurity officers and manual inspection of goods.

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and this is a timely reminder of the community and public’s role in protecting the biosecurity of Norfolk Island by complying with biosecurity regulations.

All detector dog facilities remain in place in Norfolk Island. This is to keep open the possibility a detector dog could be redeployed to Norfolk Island in the future.