26 September 2023

Public trained to know exotic pests

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Biosecurity Queensland has announced two online training packages aimed at helping the public recognise exotic pests and diseases.

The Agency developed the packages in partnership with Plant Health Australia, and the NSW Government. They cover Hitchhiker Pests, and Nursery Pests and Diseases.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner said increasing global trade and the corresponding movement of pests and diseases meant Australians needed to be ready to tackle evolving biosecurity risks.

“Hitchhiker pests, as they are known, are pests and weeds that can hitch a ride to Australia in vessels, shipping containers and break-bulk cargo. Recent detections include that of the Khapra beetle (pictured) in imported goods,” Mr Furner said.

“These pests have the potential for significant impacts, including on our environment and way of life.”

He said Hitchhiker Pests was an online course aimed at businesses that dealt with goods and cargo at critical points along the supply chain, including warehouses, distribution centres, and large retail chains.

“The Nursery Pests and Diseases course is designed for staff at Local Councils and retail nurseries, landscapers and horticulturalists. It provides training in pest identification and on the actions to take if staff see a suspected exotic pest or disease on plants,” the Minister said.

“We are seeking more companies who are willing to be biosecurity champions and build this awareness within their business to protect Queensland from biosecurity threats.”

He said each course took about 30 minutes to complete and participants would receive a certificate of completion. Employers could recognise these courses as professional development.

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