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Inspector-General of Biosecurity > Review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources management of the biosecurity risks posed by hitchhikers and contaminants associated with cargo containers, transport methods and conveyances

Review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources management of the biosecurity risks posed by hitchhikers and contaminants associated with cargo containers, transport methods and conveyances

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Background

The Inspector-General of Biosecurity (IGB) is undertaking a review of how effectively the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources manages the biosecurity risks posed by hitchhikers and contaminants associated with cargo containers, transport methods and conveyances.

A hitchhiker can be defined as an organism which has an opportunistic association with a commodity or item with which it has no biological host relationship. The term contaminant is commonly applied to material which is opportunistically associated with a commodity or item through environmental influences (for example wind or water) rather than being able to move by itself.

Hitchhikers and contaminants can be associated with three broad aspects of an import:- the material being imported (the goods or commodity); the logistics equipment used to handle the material being imported (for example a sea container); and/or the transport vehicle (conveyance – vessel or aircraft) that carries the goods to Australia. This review focusses on the second and third types of import mentioned above.

Case study of a hitchhiker pest - Asian Gypsy Moth

Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) is native to northern Asia including far eastern Russia. A single female can lay hundreds of eggs and the resultant caterpillars are able to survive on a wide range of host plants. Caterpillars are capable of causing extensive damage through defoliation which may lead to plant death directly or by sufficiently weakening the plant such that it succumbs to other plant pests or pathogens.

In 1993 an infestation of AGM was identified in Sunny Point, New Carolina, USA. During a traceback of the infestation it was identified that the moths had emerged from a ship carrying infested cargo containers originating from Germany. At that time Europe was not known to have AGM but as a consequence of the incursion in the USA, populations of AGM were subsequently found in Europe. Between 1991 and 2014 AGM has been identified on at least 20 occasions in locations across the United States (USDA 2016). 

Scope of review

Areas to be considered during the review include;

  • Biosecurity risks and the management processes used to address them which are associated with
    • arriving aircraft and sea vessels
    • sea containers and air freight equipment  (excluding the cargo carried in either type of container); and
    • cargo handling equipment (air and sea)
  • Effectiveness in identifying and responding to emerging hitchhiker and contaminant risks.

Areas not included in this review include;

  • International mail and passenger luggage;
  • Military vessels and aircraft (scheduled for a forthcoming review);
  • Cruise vessels (recently reviewed);
  • Timber pallets and dunnage (recently reviewed); and
  • Hitchhiker and contaminant risks specifically associated with imported goods.

Submissions

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments on this review to the IGB. Before providing comments please consider the review scope described above.

When making a submission the inclusion of specific examples or data, where possible, would assist the IGB.

The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2017.

There is no limit on the length of submissions. If your submission is more than 3 pages in length, please include a summary of your key comments and suggestions.

A submission made to a review may be published on the IGB’s website at the discretion of the Inspector-General unless you indicate that your submission is confidential, either wholly or in part.

Making your submission

All submissions must be accompanied by a completed submission co​versheet which identifies the review to which you are providing comment. Should you wish to provide comments to more than one review you will need to complete a separate coversheet for each review.

You may make your submission in one of two ways.  Email lodgement of submissions is preferred.

  • Email your submission to Inspector General of Biosecurity
  • Mail your submission with a completed coversheet to;

    Inspector General of Biosecurity
    GPO Box 657
    MASCOT   NSW   1460

Contact

If you wish discuss this review or how to make a submission you can contact the IGB as below.
Email: Inspector General of Biosecurity
Ph: +61 2 8334 7409