$14.5m surge in capacity to respond to changing khapra beetle threat

29 December 2020
  • $14.5 million investment to strengthen biosecurity measures at the border
  • Faster containerised cargo inspections and increased surveillance 
  • Improved sample collection, diagnostic resources and equipment and treatment 

The Australian grain and horticulture industry will be better protected from the threat of khapra beetle following a $14.5 million investment to strengthen biosecurity measures at the border.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the initiative followed global increase in detections of the pest at international borders.
“An outbreak of khapra beetle could conservatively cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years,” Minister Littleproud said.
“It is a devastating pest of stored grains and dried foods.
“However—like the brown marmorated stink bug—it has increasingly been found hitchhiking outside these food sources in containers and packaging.
“As a trading nation Australia cannot simply close its borders. Our biosecurity system must evolve and respond to changing risks. That is why we are investing $14.5 million over 18 months in new measures at the border.
“Additional resources for containerised cargo inspections will help to speed up border clearance and deliver greater assurance.
“We are investing in rapid diagnostic technology and capability, as well as targeted surveillance efforts at the border.
“And operational system enhancements will enable mandatory treatment of containers arriving from khapra affected countries.
“These targeted measures ensure the Australian biosecurity system continues to serve our $61 billion agriculture sector and the $53 billion it returns to the national bottom line each year though exports.”
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