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Tasmania to recommence increased inspection regime

To manage the seasonal risk associated with warming weather, both in Tasmania and on the mainland, the Securing Our Border (SOB) produce inspections, and freight, will soon be commencing for the 2021-22 high risk season. Increased inspections will recommence on 1 October 2021 and will continue through to the end of March 2022.

Blueberry rust is one of the diseases that BT inspectors will be looking for. Image courtesy of Bruce Watt, University of Maine, Bugwood.org

From its inception in 2019, the SOB initiative has allowed Biosecurity Tasmania (BT) to further boost frontline resources to help keep Tasmania free from economically significant pests and diseases not present in the state. Key benefits of this include the protection and support of the state’s primary industries and brand, and the maintenance of grower access to premium export markets.

A central component of the initiative was a substantial increase in the number of inspections being undertaken by BT staff on imported produce profiled as being at a high or medium risk of carrying pests such as fruit fly, tomato-potato psyllid, blueberry rust and grape phylloxera. Additional BT staff numbers allowed a major increase in targeted daily inspections of imported produce across the state between the high-risk period of October to March for both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

During the 2020-21 season, and despite the operational challenges presented during the Covid-19 pandemic, a total of 4,659 individual inspections were undertaken at Approved Quarantine Places (AQP) across the state, involving the hand inspection of 2,085,764 individual pieces of produce. BT has also continued to manage and inspect produce imports over the colder, lower-risk months.

To manage the seasonal risk associated with warming weather, both in Tasmania and on the mainland, the SOB produce inspections, and freight, will soon be commencing for the 2021-22 high risk season. Increased inspections will recommence on 1 October 2021 and will continue through to the end of March 2022, however high rates of inspection will be maintained throughout the year.

To support the increased inspection regime, BT has recently advertised for 20 part-time, fixed term Biosecurity Inspector roles spread across the north, north-west and south of the state.  For more information about the positions and to apply, please visit: www.jobs.tas.gov.au ​

Whilst inspections of imported goods forms one component of a broader biosecurity system aimed at preventing pests such as fruit fly from entering Tasmania, we are asking everybody to remain vigilant over the coming spring and summer months. If you see something suspect (such as insect larvae) in produce that you have bought from the supermarket, or grown in your backyard, please report it to BT on 03 6165 3777.

Importers or suppliers seeking further detail about SOB inspection procedures should contact Biosecurity Tasmania by phone on 03 6165 3777 or by email at: [email protected]


Acknowledgement: Reproduced from Biosecurity Advisory 23/2021 issued by Biosecurity Tasmania

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