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Home > Biosecurity > Quarantine Tasmania > Overview of Quarantine Tasmania

Overview of Quarantine Tasmania

Operational Programs
Kingston Quarantine Station
Awareness Program
Area Freedom from Fruit Fly
Fruit Fly Trapping Program
Pest and Disease Surveys
Detector Dogs
Further Information

Strategic Overview

Quarantine Services has a wide range of responsibilities that include facilitation of exports and development of market access opportunities by providing preclearance barrier and post barrier control systems, technical data and quarantine integrity that is acknowledged in both the domestic and international marketplace. The Service also undertakes a quarantine barrier function to prevent the introduction of unwanted pests and diseases.

The Service also has an obligation to provide open and fair communication and a high level of professional service to a wide client base. Quarantine Services' wide client base not only includes primary producers, importers, exporters and associated industries but a whole cross-section of the general community, extending to both commercial and non-commercial members of the general public. Quarantine Services, through its barrier and related control systems, will help to provide quarantine security for the State’s environment and primary industries.


Quarantine administers legislation that protects and where possible, extends the State's disease free status. This legislation includes:

  • Plant Quarantine Act
  • Animal Health Act
  • Seeds Amendment Act
  • Weed Management Act
  • Inland Fisheries Act
  • Animal Welfare Act
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act
  • Genetically Modified Organisms Control Act
  • Nature Conservation Act
  • Quarantine Act
  • Export Control Act
  • Imported Foods Control Act

Operational Programs

Pre and Post Barrier

This program is responsible for the quarantine barrier controls at all of the points of entry into the State. It includes the clearance of passengers, cargo, mail, plants/plant products, animals/animal products, aircraft and ship's waste.

Area Freedom

Under the area freedom program, a wide range of post barrier pest and disease surveys are undertaken. This survey data provides two very important results; technical data for international market access applications and the data that justifies our State quarantine legislation.

Detector Dogs

Colour photograph of quarantine dog sniffing luggage at the airport.The detector dogs are located in all regions of the State; both seaports and airports and also at the major mail centres.

The detector dogs attract a huge amount of attention from the media and the public. This activity has a very high priority when undertaking the barrier role.

Import Clearance

Quarantine officers checking imported products at a wharf.Imported goods represent a significant category of quarantine threats by both the nature of those goods themselves and by the means used to convey them into the country.

The Import Program is responsible for all commercial cargo entering Australia via sea or air and is cleared for quarantine and human health purposes. Cargo clearances under this program arrive into the State by both direct and trans-shipping arrangements.

In recent times, Bell Bay, 40 kms from Launceston has developed into the State’s major container port. This change has resulted in industry and Quarantine working closely on the logistics associated with the distribution of the cargo into the various regions.

Horticulture Exports

The Export Program provides export inspection and certification in accordance with the importing country's requirements, in order to facilitate exports of fresh fruit, dried fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. This program attracts a considerable amount of media attention due to the fact that the State relies heavily on exports. The major commodities exported are apples, onions, carrots, hops, poppies, cut flowers and nursery stock, plus a wide range of miscellaneous products.
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The Seaports Program carries out inspections and surveillance of overseas marine vessels in order to ensure compliance with the Quarantine Act and international health regulations. The program is also responsible for monitoring for rodents and vermin, ballast water, garbage disposal, crew health and pets on board. Checks are made for possible quarantine problems associated with previous cargo shipments, eg. grain. Map of Tasmania showing seaports.


The Airport Program is responsible for the quarantine clearance of international aircraft on arrival at their first port in Australia by ensuring they are adequately disinsected and conform to waste control requirements as well as ensuring disembarking passengers comply with Australia’s quarantine laws. Insect vector monitoring of airport environs is undertaken by this program to detect insects that may transmit serious diseases. International aircraft arrivals are limited to charter flights ex Asian region and service aircraft returning to Australia via New Zealand. All international arrivals into the state are cleared at the Hobart Airport. Detector dog teams are used to assist with this program. Map of Tasmania showing airports.


A mail delivery at the GPO.The Mail Program in collaboration with Australian Customs Service and Australia Post undertakes surveillance, namely screening and clearance of mail from overseas, to ensure parcels do not contain items which may introduce exotic pests and diseases.

The Mail Program is limited in Tasmania since the introduction of Gateway Clearances. Under this new system, the bulk of Tasmania’s international mail is checked in Melbourne.

However, there is still a small volume of mail from overseas cleared in Tasmania.

Quality Assurance

AQIS offers a range of alternatives to traditional inspection methods for both imported and exported goods where demonstrated effective in-house controls can ensure integrity of those goods. These arrangements are subject to an audit regime which is controlled by the Quality Assurance Program.

The Kingston Quarantine Station

Plant quarantine at Kingston Quarantine Station.The Kingston Quarantine Station (KQS) is fully accredited by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for post entry quarantine of plant material from all allowable world sources. The Station has been operating for many years and has handled a wide range of temperate plant species. Imported plants are grown and tested by highly skilled professionals to ensure that no exotic pests or diseases are allowed to enter Australia.

Medium risk crops such as wheat, barley, oats, corn, flower bulbs and some ornamentals can be grown outside the glasshouse giving the added bonus of field assessment of larger plots grown under natural conditions and early multiplication of that new variety.

Plant material which is contaminated with unwanted viruses can be treated at KQS to eradicate disease. With the laboratory facilities available at KQS, expert staff can decontaminate infected plants if there is a successful process for doing this. Clean plant material can then be released.

Secure, insect proof facilities are available for housing disease-free nuclear plant stock. Re-testing of nuclear stock can be arranged through the resources of the Department of Primary Industries and Water.

Propagation of early generations can be completed on the Station while under post entry quarantine. This ensures that extra plants are ready for release as soon as disease assessments have been completed and plants are declared free from exotic diseases.

There is opportunity to experiment with new propagation methods for imported material as specialised importers and skilled personnel may be allowed restricted access to KQS facilities to assist in the development of a new venture.

A fully equipped tissue culture laboratory is available for de-flasking and multiplying disease free imports.

Awareness Program

The Awareness Program is responsible for the following functions and activities:

Quarantine Awareness – to ensure that the community is aware of the importance of quarantine to Australian agriculture and the environment, and how quarantine relates to the day-to-day business, travel or other activities;

Export and Certification Awareness – to ensure that the community is aware of the importance of export inspection and certification to Australia’s ongoing international commerce in agricultural produce, especially where they may relate to individuals or corporations day-to-day business; and

Corporate Awareness – to ensure that AQIS is profiled within the community to the extent necessary for it to effectively undertake its business with key industries and the wider community.

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Area Freedom from Fruit Fly Status

Tasmania has national and international recognition for Area Freedom from Fruit Fly Status.

Currently there are approximately 12 countries to which Tasmania exports fresh produce under its Area Freedom Status. Products exported under this arrangement include apples, pears, tomatoes, stonefruit, berryfruit, squash, peas, and capsicum.

Tasmania has Area Freedom Status with important markets such as Taiwan, Japan, China, Philippines and Indonesia. The benefits to Tasmanian producers as a result of Area Freedom Status is currently in excess of $40M per annum.

Fruit Fly Trapping Program

A total of 906 Lynfield type Mediterranean and Queensland fruit fly traps are currently distributed throughout the 'high risk' (ports where fruit and vegetables arrive from other states) and 'low risk' (where fruit fly hosts are grown) regions of the state.

All traps are inspected weekly from 1 September to 31 May and at least fortnightly during the winter months from 1 June to 31 August each year.

Colour photograph of Quarantine officer fruit fly checking a fruit tree.Inspection consists of a visual examination of each trap with baits changed as scheduled. Trap audit tags are marked or punched at the appropriate week. Specimen insects are collected for laboratory examination when appropriate.

The traps are serviced every eight weeks. Servicing consists of each wick replaced for all traps and any damaged traps replaced. Wicks contain a mixture of fruit fly lure and insecticide. ‘Cuelure’ is used as the lure for Queensland and ‘Capilure’ as the lure for Mediterranean.

Records of trap inspections are kept at the Regional Quarantine Centre and a weekly summary of inspections is forwarded to the state pest and disease surveys coordinator for filing at the Hobart Quarantine Centre.

Pest and Disease Surveys

There are currently twenty six pest and disease surveys conducted at various time throughout the year for legislative and market access requirements.

The surveys conducted are:
  1. Mediterranean Fruit Fly
  2. Queensland Fruit Fly
  3. Papaya Fruit Fly
  4. Melon Fruit Fly
  5. Western Flower Thrip
  6. Melon Thrip
  7. Codling Moth
  8. Light Brown Apple Moth
  9. Woolly Aphid
  10. Brown Rot
  11. Nectria Canker
  12. Anthracnose
  13. Potato Cyst Nematode
  14. Ditylenchus
  15. Durrowing Nematode
  16. Silver Leaf Whitefly
  17. San Jose Scale
  18. Tobacco Blue Mould
  19. Fire Blight
  20. Strawberry Angular Leafspot
  21. Warehouse Beetle
  22. Pea Weevil
  23. Bacteria Wilt
  24. Vector Control
  25. Asian Gypsy Moth
  26. Red Imported Fire Ant Go to top of page

Further Information

Contact: Quarantine Tasmania
Hobart (03) 6233 3352
Launceston (03) 6398 8400
Devonport (03) 6421 7622
After Hours 0418 125 634 TAS

Department switchboard:  1300 368 550 (local call cost within Australia)

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