What we are doing
The Australian government is committed to strengthening our biosecurity system.
The program aims to address the risk of hitchhiker pests that can be carried via sea containers, their cargoes and associated packaging.
The program is specifically focused on plant arthropod hitchhiker pests that can arrive via sea containers and the cargo they contain.
Learn more about the hitchhiker pest program
Here are some of the recent insights and updates from our work under the Hitchhiker pest program.
Sea container modification trials
The Australian government has commissioned a project with Murdoch University’s Harry Butler Institute to investigate if the structure of sea containers can be modified to reduce the possibility of hitchhiker pests being carried.
Learn more about this innovative project
We have been trialling an innovative camera detection system to explore its potential to automatically screen sea containers for biosecurity pests and contaminants.
In collaboration with Trellis Data, an artificial intelligence (AI) solutions company, the Biosecurity Automated Threat Detection System (BATDS) project involved mounting a camera system equipped with AI technology onto ship-to-shore cranes at the port of Brisbane. It was then tested to see if it could automatically detect and correctly classify biosecurity material on the outside surface of sea containers, such as snails, insects and soil.
Extensive trials conducted from June 2022 to March 2023 showed the camera system could successfully capture images of biosecurity material. Although further work would be required before it can be adopted operationally, this milestone trial represents a noteworthy first-step towards integrating AI into our future work to further strengthen our biosecurity system.
Learn more about BATDS here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxJx0-3589c&t=1s