Biosecurity has played a critical role in reducing risk and shaping our nation to become one of the few countries in the world to remain free from the world’s most severe pests and diseases.
While our geographical isolation has played a key role in maintaining this status, our isolation as an island nation is rapidly changing as the barriers of time and distance become less relevant and international travel and trade increase.
With more than 60 000 kilometres of coastline offering a variety of pathways for exotic pests and diseases, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources screens, inspects and clears the millions of people, mail parcels, baggage, ships, animals, plants and cargo containers entering Australia every year using x–ray machines, surveillance, and, of course, the instantly recognisable detector dogs.
Australia works across the whole biosecurity continuum with offshore, at the border and onshore measures. The department uses a range of sophisticated technologies and approaches including, research, shared international resources and intelligence, to help prevent the introduction and spread of disease. Surveillance and monitoring of risk areas is also critical along with border control activities, which focus on assessing and managing potential biosecurity threats at Australia’s airports, seaports, and international mail centres.
Today, biosecurity controls at Australia’s borders minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and protect our $32 billion agriculture export industries as well as our unique environment, native flora and fauna, our tourism industries and lifestyle.