Kiwis and Aussies team up to boost biosecurity capability

Australia and New Zealand have announced an agreement to co-operate on technology trials to boost both nations’ biosecurity operations.

Deputy Secretary responsible for biosecurity Lyn O’Connell said the Trans-Tasman Cooperation on Biosecurity Risk Detection Technology Agreement would mean new x-ray technologies being trialled in Australia could be used both here and in New Zealand.

“Our department inspects millions of passengers, mail parcels, baggage and cargo containers every year – these new technologies could allow us to do this faster and more effectively,” Ms O’Connell said. “Through this collaboration with New Zealand, we are developing and trialling the next generation of x-ray technology, which has the potential to automatically detect biosecurity risk material in baggage and mail items.”

Ms O’Connell said this would be a first for both our countries and would increase ability to swiftly identify risk material.

The Trans-Tasman Cooperation on Biosecurity Risk Detection Technology Agreement is aimed at supporting collaboration between Australia and New Zealand in areas providing opportunities to improve biosecurity.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith said the commitment to cooperate reflected a shared understanding of the importance of biosecurity.

“Detecting biosecurity risks at the border is becoming increasingly complex for both Australia and New Zealand, with more diverse risks, and volumes of passengers, mail and cargo also expected to rise significantly in coming years,” Mr Smith said.

“Working together to explore emerging technologies and innovative use of technologies will be mutually beneficial and help both our countries anticipate and meet future challenges.”