THE fight against one of Australia’s most significant pests has been increased, after a spike in detections on cargo from the US and Italy.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said increased inspections and treatment at the border aimed to protect Australian horticulture growers from stink bugs.
“Stink bugs are a huge threat to Australian agriculture because they eat everything, including vegetable crops and fruit and ornamental trees, they’re not picky,” Mr Littleproud said.
Stink bugs are a huge threat... because they eat everything, including vegetable crops and fruit and ornamental trees.
“The pest has been known to smuggle itself into the country on anything from cars and trucks to deck chairs or cases of balsamic vinegar.
“Between September and April each year is the stink bug’s favourite time to travel.
“During that period cargo coming from high-risk countries, including Italy and the US, must be treated either offshore or on arrival and undergo inspection.
“Goods shipped from Italy between January and April that have not undergone pre-shipment treatment must be treated on arrival in Australia.”
The coalition first introduced emergency biosecurity measures for the stink bug in 2014.
An adult brown marmorated stink bug is the size of a 5c piece, gives off an unpleasant smell and is a mottled brown colour with light and dark patches.
Mr Littleproud said an additional $300 million over four years has been invested to strengthen the biosecurity through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, including boosting our capacity to manage pests, diseases and weeds. The total expenditure for biosecurity this financial year is $744.3m - an increase of $140.9m or 23.4 per cent since 2012-13.