THE quick-thinking of a Western Sydney warehouse manager in reporting one of the top threats to the $1 billion NSW horticultural industry was officially recognised recently.
Hager Electro’s John Matakaiongo was awarded for immediately reporting the discovery of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) in a shipping container from Italy at their Glendenning warehouse late last year.
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Greater Sydney Local Land Services plant biosecurity officer, Martin Horwood, who played a central role in the response, said the quick thinking and ongoing cooperation of Mr Matakaiongo and the Hager team was critical to the success of the response.
“Thanks to John’s vigilance, we were able to launch an immediate response which saw our team work tirelessly contributing about 4500 hours, spraying vegetation around detection site, inspecting almost 2000 traps, scouring more than 300 ha of bushland, industrial areas and homes and deploying more than 180 pheromone traps within a 5km zone,” he said.
“This led to another detection of BMSB at Horsley Park two months later but thankfully, following an exhaustive six month campaign, the response has been declared a success with no further detections recorded.”
But Mr Horwood said ongoing vigilance from biosecurity officers and community was critical.
NSW DPI director plant biosecurity and product integrity, Satendra Kumar, and Greater Sydney Local Land Services general manager, David Hogan, presented certificates to Mr Matakaiongo and the Hager team.
“It is an honour to receive this recognition, the Local Land Services staff involved in the response were extremely professional and worked collaboratively with our team and it’s great that we were able to stop the spread of the pest,” Mr Matakiango said.
Mr Hogan said with the Greater Sydney region home to significant ports and airports along with large imports of freight, it’s imperative everyone played a role in protecting our environment and the economy from the threat of pests and diseases.
Community members are urged to report any unusual sightings to the following hotlines
Plant pests ph 1800 084 881, Animal diseases ph 1800 675 888, Aquatic pests and diseases ph 02 4916 3877.
- Copy supplied by Greater Sydney LLS.