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.

Exotic plant pests are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food 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, Water and the Environment manages this system with state and territory ​governments, industry and the community.

Find out what you can do to:


National priority plant pests

The Plant Health Committee has recently reviewed the National Priority Plant Pests that are exotic to Australia, under eradication or have limited distribution. These are the focus of government investment and action, including funding through the Priority Pest and Disease Planning and Response. 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. The National Priority Plant Pest will be used to focus national preparedness capability through the development of national action plans.

View the National Priority Plant Pests (2019)

Check the priority plant pests:

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 on this page 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.

If you are moving to Australia you need to be vigilant for insects, bees, ants, plant material and soil when packing up your household goods. When you unpack always check again for pests or signs of their activity such as borer holes and frass 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.

Use the links above to find out more about the pests that have the potential to arrive in your mail.

Importing and shipping

Whether you are a stevedore, shipping agent, truck driver or a retailer selling imported goods- this puts you on the front line of 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 insects, bees, ants, soil and plant matter, as well as signs of pest activity such as borer holes in wooden items. This also applies to people moving their household goods to Australia.

Use the pest links above to know what these pests 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 pest and disease free. 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 help protect your property from the entry and spread of pests and diseases. 

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 the National pests & disease outbreak website for information on pests, diseases and weeds that are under national eradication programs.

Report your concerns

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

Pests found on imported goods, vessels and aircraft

IIf you see something that could have entered Australia with imported goods or in mail from overseas, report it by phoning the See. Secure. Report hotline on 1800 798 636 or use our online form.

Pests found on your farm or in your backyard

If you suspect you have found an unusual pest or disease on your farm or in your backyard, phone the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. This number will put you in touch with the department of primary industries or agriculture in your state or territory.

Last reviewed: 25 February 2021
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