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Massive boost to WA's quarantine front-line.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

AFFA01/214WT 11 August 2001

Massive boost to WA’s quarantine front-line

The Federal Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, has today announced a massive boost to quarantine protection for Western Australia with an additional 54 new AQIS staff — making a total of around 80 staff — two new detector dog teams and new state-of-the-art X-ray machines.

Mr Truss, who made the announcement at Perth’s International Airport, said that substantial progress has already been made in Perth to strengthen Australia’s barriers against exotic pests and diseases, such as foot and mouth disease.

"This is just three months after the Federal Coalition Government announced a $600 million package to boost Australia’s quarantine border protection," he said.

"I’m pleased to announce that close cooperation between the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), the Australian Customs Service and other border agencies, has already seen intervention levels at Perth International Airport reach a much more intense level, with 83 per cent of all arriving passengers having their luggage checked by detector dog teams, X-ray machines or quarantine inspectors — up from about 30 per cent in February this year.

"Inspection rates are increasing steadily at all of Australia’s international airports, and have reached a national average of more than 60 per cent of all incoming passengers.

"Quarantine seizures nationally have grown by 145 per cent compared with the same period last year, and the number of on-the-spot fines for minor quarantine breaches has increased by 122 per cent. This is a very impressive result within such a short time.

"Our target inspection rates are 80 per cent at all airports by this time next year and 100 per cent inspection at all other border entry points within 18 months.

"All passengers will be profiled to ensure Australia has the best possible defence against exotic pests and diseases.

"On the mail front, Australia Post and AQIS are working tirelessly to their target of 100 per cent quarantine inspection within 18 months.

"I commend Perth’s international mail centre on having already achieved more than 90 per cent inspection," Mr Truss said.

Within the next nine months Perth International Airport will have an additional 54 new AQIS staff — making a total of around 80 staff — five detector dog teams (up from three) and four X-ray machines (up from two).

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 13 August 2001

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/truss/releases/00/01214wt.html Commonwealth of Australia 2001