Quarantine and exclusion zones. Where are they? What are they? Why do we have them?

Friday, Jul 25, 2014 at 23:06


Where are they? What are they? Why do we have them?

Quarantine zones occur at most state borders, and surrounding specific horticultural regions. Some zones are staffed and all vehicles are stopped whereas others work on an honesty system or with part time inspectors.

Where ever they are, please respect the requirements and be honest about what you are carrying. Disease protection for agriculture is vital, so please be considerate, check what you are carrying thoroughly, and dispose of anything that could carry diseases even when there is not a manned station.

Many of us have tales to tell about an officious Fruit Nazi taking all our good quality disease free fruit which we know is safe; it must be because it looks good and we purchased it at a recognised grocery store chain that sells all over the nation.

Have you ever considered going through without revealing the fruit you think you will eat over the next couple of days? Forgotten the fruit residue in your lunchbox? Thought “but I bought the honey in Woolworths so it will be the same as what they send to Woolworths in Western Australia”.

Not all is the same and commercial loads of products taken across exclusion zone boundaries may have been treated to ensure bio security. Just one person substituting a product or smuggling something they think is safe when it is not has the potential to destroy the livelihood of many families.

It is more than just fruit and vegetables. For example packaging (cardboard and polyfoam) that has contained fresh produce be it fruit, vegetables, honey or eggs cannot be brought into Western Australia as they may carry particles of soil or plant matter. Honey cannot be taken across the border into Western Australia.

What will they want to inspect?

Inspectors will at minimum inspected car and caravan fridges. Show any fresh produce storage, show any vegetables you have prepared such as peeled potatoes and onions.Check lunch boxes for any fruit or vegetable scraps. Anyone who is evasive or uncooperative can expect to have their rig searched, and they will be left to pack up again.

Always be quite honest at inspection points as our primary production needs the protection from diseases, pests and which can so easily destroy our livelihoods and food supplies. Significant fines apply for those attempting to breach the regulations.

To find more about the various state and intra-state exclusions look through Domestic Quarantine and select the state you are visiting. There are phone numbers given to check if you are not clear on what you can bring.

Riverlands Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone (FFEZ) spans three states; New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Within the FFEZ is the Sunraysia pest free zone. Note: You cannot enter South Australia with fruit or vegetables of any type and you should not cross state borders into Victoria or New South Wales with specified fruit fly host fruit or vegetables. When crossing the state border in South Australia, all fresh fruit will be confiscated, even if it has been purchased within the exclusion zone. Tomatoes are a fruit and subject to fruit fly, as are capsicum and chillies, avocadoes and Aubergines (eggplant).

Why can’t we bring honey into Western Australia?

Honey is excluded from Western Australia, regardless of where you purchased it. Honey and apiary equipment can carry apiary diseases called "foulbrood"; American and European strains. This disease will kill the bees in the hives and wipe out an industry and the livelihood of the bee farmers. It can be carried by honey, honeycomb, pollen, beeswax, live bees and apiary equipment. When the disease is detected, the only course of action is to burn the entire apiary at night when all bees are present. It is like you are running a shop, and someone finds your tomatoes have grubs; they burn down your entire shop and stock and walk away. What is more, the bee keepers love their bees - they are a living creature with a complex cultural structure.

What do I do if I later discover I have some produce which I forgot to declare?

If you have gone past a checkpoint and realise you have something you shouldn’t have kept, do not just throw it out.

Seal the produce, seeds or soil in a plastic bag and contact that state's quarantine as soon as possible to discuss safe disposal.

Australian Capital Territory 02 62076376
New South Wales 02 63913100
Northern Territory 08 89992118
Queensland 07 34046999
South Australia 08 82077820
Western Australia 08 93341800

How to prepare for a quarantine inspection

Read tips about what to do with your fresh produce. What are the alternatives before crossing a quarantine checkpoint or exclusion zone, and what you can use as substitutes until more supplies can be purchased.

How to manage after your fresh fruit and vegetables have gone

It is not too hard to manage without fresh produce for a day or two – unless your staple diet is lettuce. We can do for weeks at a time when travelling in the outback. What are the alternatives?

In summary

A lot of nasties that can destroy our agricultural industries and livelihoods exist in this country, and it HAS HAPPENED. Please consider primary producers and food supplies whenever you see the quarantine point signs in your travels, whether they are policed or not.

Always check you have no unwelcome passengers, be they seeds carried in soil, tyres, shoes and socks, pet fur or pet bedding, insects or even animals as large as cane toads. Cane Toads have proved to be clever hitch hikers and have spread quickly across the northern regions of Australia posing a significant threat to native species.

Soil in any form is prohibited across all borders except into Victoria, where just some exemptions apply. This includes herb gardens or even soil on a dog’s rug.

Research beforehand will save you losing property, gifts and food. Links on how the find out precisely what you can and can’t bring are set out on this page.

As a Western Australian farmer, of equal concern to me are weed seeds, such as the nasty burrs which are found in many other states. With so many travellers, they could easily find their way through on shoes, dogs, dog bedding, camping gear, under caravans etc. Seeds from prickly weeds are a major risk, and some have already come in to Western Australia. Please check your pet's fur, feet and bedding for seeds and soil, as well as sole of your shoes and shoelaces of joggers which can attract prickles.

For more details about how to find where and what can be transported, and how to manage until the next shopping opportunity, check the links and articles here

Red desert dreaming

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