Biosecurity Blitz 18-30 September 2015
West Australians are being urged to take part in the State's inaugural Biosecurity Blitz by reporting unusual pests and weeds from September 18 to 30, in a bid to help protect the agriculture and food sector and environment.
"Biosecurity is a responsibility commonly undertaken by people in the agriculture sector, but biosecurity is everyone's business. We want people to report any unusual pests or weeds," Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said.
"About 40 per cent of exotic pests that threaten agriculture are found in urban areas. This highlights the importance of reporting unusual pests in both regional and urban areas."
The Blitz is part of the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project funded by Royalties for Regions and led by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
In order to provide easy access to reporting tools, three smartphone apps have been developed to help boost biosecurity: MyPestGuide, PestFax and MyCrop.
The apps were developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food with support from the State Government's Royalties for Regions program, the Council of Grain Grower Organisations, and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
Acting Regional Development Minister Mia Davies said the Biosecurity Blitz program was part of the $20 million Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, funded through the Royalties for Regions $300 million Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture Initiative.
"A strong and innovative biosecurity defence will protect our existing and future markets, generating flow-on benefits to the regional economy," Ms Davies said.
"I am pleased to see Royalties for Regions contribute towards ensuring the vitality of our regional communities."
Pests could also be reported using the MyPestGuide and PestFax apps, or by calling the department's Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881. All reports would be assessed by specialised agronomists, plant pathologists and entomologists.
"The results of the first Biosecurity Blitz program in WA will support continued access to international markets by verifying the State's freedom from exotic agricultural pests and diseases, such as Khapra beetle and Karnal Bunt," Mr Baston said.
For more information about the Biosecurity Blitz program, visit http://www.agric.wa.gov.au