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Biosecurity risk detected and managed

The Australian Government assures the Norfolk Island community that biosecurity and pest management procedures were successfully executed following the identification of spiders on equipment for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development shipped on a regular freight vessel which arrived on July 10.

It was encouraging to see a system working as it should this week. I understand the community concern about this matter and want to highlight this risk was appropriately detected and managed, in line with required procedures.

The shipment of a trailer and cradles for the passenger transfer vessels was packaged for transport in accordance with the packaging requirements provided by the freight forwarder. When spiders were identified aboard the ship, the Department of Agriculture was notified and the shipment was brought ashore to Cascade Pier to allow Agriculture personnel to coordinate the fumigation of the shipment.

I urge community members to treat officers who are performing their roles to protect the community and environment courteously.

Those on the front line for managing biosecurity here on Norfolk Island are officers who take their roles in protecting the special environment on Norfolk Island very seriously.

If people have concerns about particular issues, including biosecurity, they can contact my office to discuss them.

I am informed that samples of the spider have been taken to identify the species, but initial indications are that it is unlikely to be a red back.

Occasionally there is a biosecurity risk when items are sent to Norfolk Island. It is important to detect these risks and, as has happened here, take appropriate action to protect the Island’s unique biosecurity status. This is a shared responsibility of government, business and the community and I encourage anyone aware of a potential risk to report it.

Officers use a range of strategies to protect the island, but I encourage the community to assist in reporting breaches or identifying and reporting potential risks to the Department of Agriculture staff.

Eric Hutchinson
July 2019