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Plant pests and diseases

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ The top forty national priority pests place at risk a twenty seven point nine billion dollar broadacre and horticulture crop industry and a two billion dollar forestry industry

Australia is lucky to be free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests.

These exotic plant pests are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our plant production and agriculture industries, and some could change our way of life.

Australia’s biosecurity system helps protect us from exotic plant pests. 

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources manages this system with state and territory ​governments, industry and the community.

Find out what you can do to:


National priority plant pests

Plant Health Committee has identified national priority plant pests that are exotic to Australia, are under eradication or have limited distribution. These are the focus of government investment and action. While by no means the only plant pests of biosecurity concern, the National Priority Plant Pests serve to highlight the sort of threats Australia faces.

Find out more about the Top 40 unwanted plant pests in this short video with Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer.

Check the priority plant pests:

View the National Priority Plant Pests (2016)

Stop plant pests and diseases coming to Australia

Travelling or mailing to Australia

All travellers arriving in Australia need to be aware of our biosecurity requirements. This includes completing your Incoming Passenger Card honestly, and declaring any items that could pose a biosecurity risk, including live animals and plants, animal products, plant material, and certain foods.

Before you travel, check what you can and can’t bring into Australia.

Check out the priority plant pests to see how you can avoid these stowaways in your luggage.

When sending mail to Australia, accurately declare the contents of your package on the postal declaration label.

Home owners who move to Australia with their household goods need to be vigilant to unusual insects, bees, ants, and signs of pest activity such as borer holes in wooden items.

Online shopping

We all like a bit of online shopping but if you are purchasing goods from overseas, especially seeds, wooden items or goods made from organic materials, or unusual pets, you need to check whether it can legally come into Australia.

Many plant pests are capable of hiding in imported goods. Some pests can remain dormant in an item for years, and not emerge until environmental conditions are right.

Before you place your order check what can and can’t come into Australia. Some items may require an import permit.

Find out more about the pests that have the potential to arrive in your mail.

Importing and shipping

Whether you are a furniture buyer, a stevedore, a shipping agent, a truck driver or a retailer of imported goods, working around imported goods puts you on the front line of the defence against exotic pest incursions.

Many of our priority plant pests hitchhike their way to Australia with imported goods or attached to plant material, vessels, shipping containers and machinery.

You should always be vigilant to unusual insects, bees, ants, and signs of pest activity such as borer holes in wooden items. This also applies to home owners who move to Australia with their household goods.

Some pests are likely to arrive with imported goods. Know what they look like, the time of year you’re likely to see them, and how to report any detections.

Check what plant and plant products can be imported to Australia.​

Farming and home gardening

As a grower or farmer your business relies on being free of plant pests and diseases. If you import plants, seeds and machinery, you need to be aware of, and comply wi​th import requirements. This also applies to home gardeners and hobby farmers.

Good biosecurity practices also need to be applied on your property. 

Find out more about farm biosecurity.

Other plant pests of concern

There are a number of other serious plant pests that may have a significant impact on growers, industries or Australia’s environment or way of life.

Additional resources

Familiarise yourself with some of the exotic pest threats to your industry. You will be better able to recognise particular pest species should they enter Australia.

Check out National pests & disease outbreak website for information on how we respond to outbreaks and current national pest, disease and weed responses.


Report your concerns

Signs of pests and diseases that are unusual or exotic to Australia should be reported immediately.

See. Secure. Report Hotline

If you see something that could have entered Australia with imported goods or in mail from overseas, report it by:

Exotic Plant Pest Hotline

This hotline will put you in touch with the department of primary industries or agriculture in your state or territory. If you suspect you have found an exotic or an unusual pest or disease on your property:

  • call 1800 084 881
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