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Quarantine campaign succeeding



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NEWS I L H A M

/ /j φΊ' FROM. THE COMMONWEALTH MINISTER FOR HEALTH - THE HON. M. J. R. MACKELLAR

QUARANTINE CAMPAIGN SUCCEEDING

A survey of the National Quarantine Publicity Campaign has shown that more and more Australian travellers are "declaring it for Australia", the Minister for Health, the Hon M.J.R. MacKellar, M.P. said today.

Expert evaluation of the campaign showed that it was succeeding dramatically in increasing public awareness of quarantine. "It is persuading Australians returning by air from overseas to act more responsibly on quarantine matters" he said.

Mr MacKellar was commenting on two studies by Frances Hellier . Consumer Research Pty. Ltd. of Sydney over the past two years of the National Quarantine Publicity Campaign. The studies assessed the impact of the campaign started 18 months ago and

spearheaded by the conservationist and television personality, Mr Harry Butler CBE. The campaign included television, press . and other advertising, in-flight films and a range of promotional, activities.

Mr MacKellar said that one study involving passenger interviews had revealed a great improvement among returning travellers in their understanding of quarantine objectives and risks. The . second study involving airport statistics showed that people were bringing in far less questionable material. .

The Minister said returning travellers were responding well to the "declare it for Australia" theme - declarations by travellers relating exclusively to quarantine matters had increased by 16%.

Comparisons over the two year period showed for Australian ** _. . residents who travel abroad: . > -

. a drop of 46% from the 1979 levels in the .

number of cases where seizure of animal products was necessary;

. a reduction of 58% in seizures of meat and ·

meat products; '

. for milk products the reduction in seizures neared 50%.

For Australian citizens the study showed that there were substantial reductions in the number of seizures of plant materials in virtually all major product groups. Large falls were recorded for edible fresh produce (46%) , edible dry produce (35%), seeds for sowing

(41%), nursery stock . (33%) and all plant products combined (25%).

Mr MacKellar said the interviews showed that since 1980 people had become aware of the need for quarantine security, and more discerning in their appreciation of risk items, particularly those featured in the campaign.

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He said the study had confirmed very marked changes in the right direction - a development which would normally not have been expected so quickly.

"The major aim of the publicity campaign is to secure the co-operation of air travellers in maintaining our quarantine security. The results so far are extremely pleasing", the Minister said. "The risk that disease will enter Australia

with material brought in by travellers will always be present. The National. Campaign is performing a most vital role in reducing this risk". Mr MacKellar paid tribute to the work of Harry Butler who, he said, had worked tirelessly to inject

and maintain, the vitality .and relevance that the campaign possessed. .

Canberra 1 April, 1982

RESULTS OF SURVEY

Recall of quarantine information among travelling Australians had increased from 45% in 1980 to 70%;

Declarations by travellers on solely quarantine matters increased 16%;

For all travellers seizure by quarantine officers of declared or undeclared . material for destruction or treatment fell by 21% for animal products and 14% -

for plant products;

For Australian residents a drop of 46% from the 1979 levels in the number of , cases where seizure of animal products was necessary;

A reduction of 58% in seizures of meat and meat products; _ .

A reduction of near 50%-in milk products’ ’ seizures;

For Australian citizens large falls recorded for edible fresh produce 46%; edible dry produce 35%; seeds for sowing 41%; nursery stock 33% and all plant products combined 25%.