27 September 2023

Hi-tech taken on to beat the borders

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The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is funding a range of innovative products aimed at improving the nation’s biosecurity.

The innovations include DNA fingerprinting for imported dogs, virtual reality training for officers and drones to manage feral pigs.

Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said the initiatives were part of the $25.2 million Biosecurity Innovation Program.

“The biosecurity risks facing Australia are increasing. We need to incorporate innovative technologies and approaches to improve the way we work,” Mr Littleproud said

He said DNA fingerprinting for imported dogs would improve how compliance with import conditions could be verified.

“Remote sensing could provide a valuable management tool for feral pigs and help in our fight to protect Australia from African swine fever and other exotic diseases carried by pigs,” he said.

“We are building on the success of the 3D x-rays by funding a project that will allow them to automatically detect seeds, which will be a world first for biosecurity.”

He said another project would aim to enhance the ability to detect pests on plant products at the border and to develop a deployable test for the major plant pest, Xylella fastidiosa.

“We will also be investigating what motivates people who threaten Australia’s biosecurity, which will help finds ways to influence behaviour change,” Mr Littleproud said.

“These projects will be carried out with innovators from the business sector, universities and research entities to help meet future challenges in our biosecurity system.”

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