Plants and Plant Products (Fruit and Vegetables) - General Biosecurity Duty
Being involved in the production of plants or plant products in Tasmania means that you have an important role to play in helping to protect your business, the broader industry and the state from the impact of pests, weeds and disease.
Listed below are some biosecurity actions you can take to meet your General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) and to help keep your business - and Tasmania - biosecurity safe.
Develop a Biosecurity Plan
Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan for your farm or production site is a key step that you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of pests, weeds and disease on the property you manage. They are also a good way to educate staff and visitors on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the Farm Biosecurity website
is a great starting point.
Important Biosecurity Actions
Biosecurity vigilance (also known as Notification of a Biosecurity Event)
- If you SEE something on your farm or production site that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or diseases, or invasive animal species;
- SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then
- REPORT it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible.
Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.
- Register your property with a Property Identification Code (PIC). Owners of properties that are engaging in any form of primary industries enterprise are strongly encouraged to register for a PIC. Your PIC should be updated at least bi-annually, or as your specific situation changes.
Pests, weeds and diseases
Start with clean certified seed, and check crops regularly for pests and diseases.
Maintain accurate records of movement of stock in and out of your farm or production site to assist traceback/traceforward in the case of an outbreak of a pest or disease.
Understand your responsibilities in the control of declared weeds on the land that you manage and take all reasonable measures to limit their impact and spread. Visit the webpages for more information on weeds in Tasmania.
To reduce the risk of common garden plants (or aquarium plants) becoming environmental weeds – consider composing all green waste within your own contained composting system to be used again on your property or, alternatively, utilise council green waste bins and facilities. Do not illegally dump green waste into the environment.
Ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemicals are used as per label, or applicable off-label permit (i.e. appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health, plant health and the environment). Find out more about AgVet chemical use in Tasmania.
Regularly check gates, fences and enclosures and repair any damage to prevent the entry of livestock or other animals, or unauthorised persons.
Clean and maintain equipment regularly and thoroughly to prevent the transfer of pests and diseases between production areas.
Clean down equipment, vehicles, shoes/boots and clothes between visits to different production sites.
Before arrival at a production property, contact the landowner or farm manager and determine whether there are any specific biosecurity protocols which you will need to follow.
Have biosecurity procedures in place to manage seasonal workers on your site.
Maintain staff hygiene procedures during harvesting, processing and packing to prevent transfer of food-borne diseases.
Importing items into Tasmania
- Check the biosecurity requirements before you import any plants or plant products, including seeds, bulbs, corms, tubers, rootstock, potted plants, tissue culture and cuttings. You can do this via the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania, or by contacting Biosecurity Tasmania.
- Ensure that imports are accompanied by any required certificates, permits or other documentation, that labelling is accurate and clearly marked ‘for attention Biosecurity Tasmania’, and that you notify Biosecurity Tasmania of the import at least 24 hrs prior to arrival where required.
- Take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that any items are clean and free of soil, seeds, plant material or pests prior to arrival. All imported plants and many of their products must be presented to Biosecurity Tasmania for inspection at an Approved Quarantine Place (AQP). It is the responsibility of the importer to determine an appropriate AQP and make a booking for inspection with Biosecurity Tasmania once the AQP has confirmed they will accept the consignment.
- If you are importing equipment or machinery, you need to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that they are cleaned and free of all soil, seeds and plant matter prior to arriving in Tasmania, as per Import Requirement 39 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania. Some machinery, such as grape harvesting equipment, may have to meet additional import requirements.
If you are importing seeds in consignments under 1kg as per Import Requirement 36 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania, ensure that they are sourced from an approved supplier, or consider applying to become a registered importer if you plan on importing seeds on a regular basis.
Contact and reporting
Contact Biosecurity Tasmania for general information or to report a suspected pest, weed or disease:
Phone: (03) 6165 3777
Alternatively, for reporting pests, weeds or diseases, you can call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881) or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 858).
Stay up to date on Biosecurity in Tasmania
Subscribing to get Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories
is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity
Follow Biosecurity Tasmania on Facebook.
Please note that this information contains minimum recommendations only. The GBD requires a person dealing with biosecurity matter or a carrier to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk associated with the dealing. Such measures may not be specified in any regulations, guidelines or other official publications.