Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Biosecurity, Kangaroo Island

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (14:54): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister update the council on the campaign to strengthen Kangaroo Island's biosecurity?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:54): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in Kangaroo Island. I am delighted to update this place on the government's latest initiative to protect Kangaroo Island's unique landscape. Kangaroo Island's relative isolation and distinctive environment is well recognised, and its clean and green image is key to its economic and social wellbeing.

The island's relative pest and disease-free status is significant to its environment, industries and social amenity. A significant amount of work has gone into ensuring the island remains pest and disease free. Members in this place may recall previous speeches I have made relating to the excellent ongoing work to eradicate feral pigs off the island, with only two male pigs still remaining on the western part of the island.

Ferry services to Kangaroo Island are recognised as a major pathway for potential biosecurity incursions, and that is why random biosecurity checks for travellers to the island are in place. Since July 2020, staff have attended 3,159 ferry services, checked 99,698 vehicles and engaged with over 260,000 passengers. As a result of the work of PIRSA biosecurity officers, 2,179 consignments of honey, 1,716 consignments of plants, 110 consignments of livestock and 77 potatoes contaminated with soil have been prevented from entering Kangaroo Island. Further to this, 878 machines used for earthmoving, agricultural and construction purposes have all been stopped before coming onto the island.

It is critical that we continue to carry out biosecurity checks for travellers coming onto the island, and that is why the Department of Primary Industries and Regions has recently commissioned the Kangaroo Island biosecurity awareness video. This is a new tool in the suite of measures to assist in promoting compliance with the legislative requirements that are in place to protect the island's agricultural industries and environment.

The video features local Kangaroo Islanders, including a seed potato farmer, a beekeeper, an oyster farmer, a wildlife park operator, national parks rangers and PIRSA biosecurity officers. In the video, local producers deliver messaging on biosecurity requirements related to honey and bee products—I am not sure if that includes wax, as there were questions here about candle makers—potatoes, weeds, aquatic pests and pest animals. The video includes graphics that provide clear instruction on actions that travellers should take to comply with biosecurity requirements.

The video will be shared with the tourism industry, and it is hoped it will improve awareness of the biosecurity risks that the island faces and the role that each and every traveller plays in protecting it. I am advised SeaLink will be playing this video on the ferry over, and the Kangaroo Island tourism authority will share it with their tourism members. This is complementary to pre-existing measures introduced in recent times, including new road signage as you approach the ferry, social media messaging and information on SeaLink ticketing. This latest campaign is a timely one as we fast approach the festive period, when we see an even higher increase in tourism to the island.