Working with NZ to build traveller biosecurity capabilities

Australia and New Zealand have announced an agreement to cooperate on trials of innovative technologies to improve both countries’ biosecurity operations.

Deputy Secretary responsible for biosecurity, Lyn O’Connell, said the Trans-Tasman Cooperation on Biosecurity Risk Detection Technology will mean that new x-ray technologies being trialled in Australia could be used both here and in New Zealand.  

“Our department inspects millions of passengers, mail parcels, baggage and cargo containers every year—these new technologies could allow us to do this faster and more effectively,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Through this collaboration with New Zealand, we are developing and trialling the next generation of x-ray technology, which has the potential to automatically detect biosecurity risk material in baggage and mail items.

“This would be a first for both our countries and will increase our ability to swiftly identify risk material and better target high risk items, individuals and entities to safeguard Australia from pest and disease risks.”

The Trans-Tasman Cooperation on Biosecurity Risk Detection Technology will support ongoing collaboration between Australia and New Zealand in areas that provide promising opportunities to improve biosecurity.

This includes jointly trialling the new x-ray detection technologies, as well as potential detector dog initiatives, which will see them trained in different capabilities and deployed in new environments.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand, Roger Smith, said the commitment to cooperate reflected a shared understanding of the importance of building future biosecurity capabilities.

“Detecting biosecurity risks at the border is becoming increasingly complex for both Australia and New Zealand, with more diverse risks, and volumes of passengers, mail and cargo also expected to rise significantly in coming years,” Mr Smith said.

“Working together to explore emerging technologies and innovative use of technologies will be mutually beneficial and help both our countries anticipate and meet future challenges.

“This is a great initiative and the next step in an ongoing conversation.”

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