New priorities outlined in war to keep exotic pest species at bay

The Federal Government has stepped up efforts to reduce the risk of exotic environment pest species entering and becoming established in Australia.

Acting on a recommendation of the 2017 review of Australia’s biosecurity system, the Government this week published a National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases.

The list prioritises national actions to help prevent the entry, establishment and spread of exotic pests, weeds, and diseases.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud says the listed species “pose a serious risk to Australia’s environment, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, and the Australian tourism sector – with many also impacting on agricultural production.

“The Priority List was agreed by state and territory governments [and] provides a national-level focus to raise awareness, guide surveillance activities, strengthen preparedness and response capabilities and inform research.”

Click here for more information about the National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases.  

Activities already underway to reduce the risk of exotic environment pests entering Australia and colonising Australia include:

  • Developing diagnostics capabilities for hard-to-detect species such as new strains of myrtle rust, a disease that can kills trees and forests;
  • Examination of incoming cargo and mail using sophisticated x-ray systems is being engineered to detect and stop smuggled pest animals and plants at the border; and
  • Targeting of Priority List species through the National Border Surveillance program.