Rewarding world-class biosecurity innovation

31 July 2020

The Innovations with 3D X-Ray Technology project has been recognised with the 2020 Public Sector Innovation Award Winner in the Digital and Data category.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the technology is a game changer for managing biosecurity risks and processing goods and people at the border. 

“To meet the challenges associated with increasing volumes of cargo and passengers we need to work smarter and more efficiently to manage biosecurity risks, Minister Littleproud said. 

“In a world-first for biosecurity, this 3D x-ray technology allows us to automatically detect biosecurity risk material that arrives at our airports and mail centers. 

“3D x-ray units are now installed in Melbourne International Airport and Melbourne International Mail Centre. We will also be installing a unit at Sydney International Mail Centre.

“They have proven to be much more effective than current detection technologies, significantly increasing the detection rate at the airport and mail centre. 

“The units can automatically detect meat, seafood and fruit, which means they can help safeguard us from some of our most deadly biosecurity threats, including African Swine Fever.

“The algorithms use information, such as density and shape, to alert officers to potential biosecurity risks in baggage or mail items and enables the detection of 2 to 3 times more risk material than current screening technology.

“Increased image quality from the 3D x-ray also enables our biosecurity officers to be more confident in decision making. 

“They are significantly reducing the burden for officers and allow for more risk material to be easily detected. 

“I congratulate the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on this well-deserved achievement, and I am excited by the further opportunities this technology present. 

“The successful 3D x-ray algorithm trial was funded through the $7.5 million Modern Seamless Border Clearance measure and the $25.2 million Biosecurity Innovation Program announced in the 2018 Budget. 

“The Australian Government will continue to invest in the national biosecurity system to work smarter to address current and emerging risks.”

For more information on the Innovations with 3D X-Ray Technology project, visit

For more information on the 2020 Public Sector Innovation Award and finalists, visit