Agriculture department issues new measures for beetle treatment of sea containers

Adult khapra beetle (Photo: University of Florida/S. Weingarten)

Sea containers packed in a khapra beetle target risk country and unpacked in a rural grain-growing area will be required to undergo treatment offshore.

Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Tongue, said the measures were an important step in keeping Australia free from khapra beetle.

“Global markets rely on international trade, and Australia is no exception,” Mr Tongue said. “But what we don’t want is contaminants and pests hitching a ride into Australia on sea containers.

“The khapra beetle is Australia’s number two national priority plant pest, and for very good reasons. It’s a highly invasive pest that poses a major threat to Australia’s grains industry.”

Mr Tongue said the beetle destroys grain, making it unfit for consumption for humans and animals, and it also poses a health risk, causing stomach, breathing and skin irritation issues.

“Around 80 per cent of our grain exports would be at risk if we were to have a khapra beetle outbreak, and it would cost our economy $15.5 billion over 20 years.

“We can’t risk complacency. Khapra beetles can live for several years without food – it will hide undetected in cracks and under the floors of sea containers.”

Importers are encouraged to stay up to date on the urgent actions by visiting this link and registering to receive industry advice notices here.



Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.