Everyone has a role in protecting Australia’s biosecurity
Australia is free from many biological threats, such as foot and mouth disease, that have had major economic and environmental consequences for other countries. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, along with other government agencies, industry and the community, plays a vital role in maintaining Australia’s enviable biosecurity status.
Many reports of suspected biosecurity concerns come from wharf workers, transport operators, ship’s crew, stevedores and depot staff who report their concerns to the department. These reports allow us to investigate and respond quickly to manage the risks and stop pests at the border.
What to do
See: keep an eye out for biosecurity concerns.
Secure: try to secure or isolate the biosecurity concern; this can be as easy as closing the doors on a shipping container.
Report: let the department know that you have found something by calling 1800 798 636.
Note: You are required by law to report certain biosecurity incidents if you are:
- a person in charge of goods subject to biosecurity control, or an exposed good order; or
- a person in charge of an aircraft or vessel carrying goods subject to biosecurity control, or an exposed goods order; and
- you become aware of a reportable biosecurity incident in relation to those goods.
A report can be made by calling 1800 798 636 or by completing the Reportable Biosecurity Incident form.
What is a biosecurity concern?
Biosecurity is about keeping Australia safe from harmful animal and plant pests and diseases. Animals, insects or cargo that can carry an exotic pest or disease are a biosecurity concern.
Animals and insects
Reptiles, birds, mice and even cats have arrived in Australia as stowaways inside containers and on vessels. These kinds of biosecurity risks, including animal or insect waste, eggs and nests could introduce exotic diseases to Australia that could affect not only our animal health, but also our human health.
Bees, snails, ants and other insects could establish as pests or introduce diseases and parasites that present a serious threat to our agriculture industries.
Plant material and seeds
Straw, leaves, bark and other plant material could introduce diseases. Seeds can also pose a disease threat and allow exotic plants to establish as weeds.
More information is available on the website about weeds and seeds.
Soil can easily hide the presence of insects, snails, seeds and microbes that can cause animal and plant diseases.
Water can contain organisms including mosquito larvae and algae. Australia is currently free of the mosquitoes that transmit a range of serious human diseases such as yellow fever.
Imported packing materials made from wood can have borers and other termites hidden inside. If you see holes in timber with frass (sawdust created by borer activity) nearby then it’s likely there are live borers inside.
Sometimes unprocessed plant materials such as rice husks and straw are used as packing materials and can harbour seeds.