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Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Latest Advisories

Subscribing to get DPIPWE’s 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.

Biosecurity Advisory 5/2017 – Barley and grain growers encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot.

​Biosecurity Tasmania is encouraging barley and other grain growers to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot of barley.

Ramularia leaf spot of barley (Ramularia collo-cygni) hampers leaf development which can lead to loss of green leaf area in crops, and can result in yield loss.  Symptoms include small brown rectangular lesions with yellow margins within the leaf veins, visible from both sides of the leaf but most obvious on the exposed upper leaves after flowering.  Whilst it spreads via spores to nearby hosts, evidence suggests that long distance spread is limited to infected sown seed.

Growers should be on the lookout for barley plants showing these symptoms—but note these can be easily confused with net blotch that is common on other grasses in Australia.  The disease is suited to Tasmania’s cooler climate and it is most common in northern Britain.

Whilst barley is the main host of concern, Ramularia leaf spot has also been reported on oats and wheat so these are potential secondary hosts - although less likely to be impacted by the disease.

Ramularia leaf spot was detected on a small plot near Hagley earlier this year. The detection was immediately responded to with the crop removed and appropriately disposed of, with the site further treated to remove the fungus presence. The site remains under ongoing management and surveillance.

There have been no further detections of the disease at the site or other areas. Surveillance continues to be undertaken and grain growers are encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot.

Biosecurity Tasmania wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the affected research groups, crop managers and land owners in reporting this disease promptly and in cooperating with the response work thus far.

What to do if you think you have found Ramularia leaf spot of barley

Plant Diagnostic Services in Biosecurity Tasmania (DPIPWE) will test barley samples suspected of being infected with Ramularia leaf spot free of charge. 

Specimens or images can be submitted to a DPIPWE plant pathologist - call 1300 368 550 to be directed to a plant pathologist.  Samples of symptomatic barley leaves should be placed in sealed double plastic bags and sent to:

DPIPWE Plant Diagnostic Services
13 St John’s Avenue
New Town, TAS  7008

Further information, including images of Ramularia leaf spot of barley symptoms can be found on the Biosecurity Tasmania website.

Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Seeds; Policy and Legislation; Pasture; Wildlife; Natural environment; Timber imports; Marine pests; Livestock; Invasive Species; Gene technology; Freshwater pests;

Biosecurity Advisory 4/2017 - Biosecurity Bill 2017: public comment invited on draft legislation

Biosecurity Bill 2017: public comment invited on draft legislation

Draft legislation which will provide a sound and flexible framework for the future management of Tasmania’s biosecurity has been released for public comment today (Friday 21 April 2017).

The Biosecurity Bill 2017 seeks to replace seven existing Acts with one piece of framework legislation focussed on all biosecurity matter and the carriers which move it around. The Bill promotes a precautionary approach with the order of priority being to prevent, eliminate and reduce biosecurity risks. 

Enshrining the principle that biosecurity is a shared responsibility, the Bill includes creation of a General Biosecurity Duty to apply to the broader community and businesses and which defines reasonable standards of care and behaviour when dealing with biosecurity risk.

Industries wanting a greater role in formal biosecurity control will be offered partnerships and pathways to do so through accreditation, certification and auditing regimes; and through approved biosecurity programs.

Authorised officers will have new tools to engage with people and businesses creating biosecurity risks, including accepting legally enforceable undertakings that specific action will be taken to prevent, eliminate or minimise a particular biosecurity risk.

Consultation has already occurred on both a position paper and a Future Directions statement leading up to the release of the draft Bill. The consultation draft of the Biosecurity Bill 2017 will be open for formal feedback until 2 June 2017. It is anticipated that a finalised legislative package will be ready for introduction during this Parliamentary year.

A copy of the consultation draft of the Biosecurity Bill 2017, together with plain language fact sheets can be downloaded from the Biosecurity Tasmania website at:

Comments on the draft Bill should be provided in writing to Biosecurity Tasmania either via email or post by 2 June 2017.

Via post: 
Biosecurity Legislation Project
Biosecurity Tasmania, DPIPWE
GPO Box 44

For further information:

Project Manager​​
Biosecurity Legislation Project
Phone: 03 6165 3084

Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Timber imports; Wildlife; Policy and Legislation;

Biosecurity Advisory 3/2017 - Tomato potato psyllid detection in Western Australia- what it means for Tasmania

Tomato potato psyllid detection in Western Australia- what it means for Tasmania

Tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) was detected in Western Australia at several properties near Perth, Western Australia, early February 2017.  This is the first detection of this pest in Australia.

Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) is a sap-sucking insect that feeds on many plants in the Solanaceae family which includes potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant and tamarillo and some in the Convolvulaceae family such as sweet potato.

Actions are being taken nationally in response to this detection and to minimise the risk of movement of the pest to other parts of Australia.

Implications for Tasmania

If this pest entered Tasmania it would have greatest significance for growers of potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant and related crops both indoors and outdoors. It also has implications for the nursery industry.

As part of a Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture project, a network of yellow sticky traps has operated in Tasmanian potato crops in recent years to obtain early warning should this pest enter Tasmania.

The pest has not been detected in Tasmania.  However commercial producers and backyard growers are asked to check their crops for signs of the psyllid. Biosecurity Tasmania’s Plant Diagnostic Services can identify suspect material free of charge. If you think the tomato potato psyllid may be present in your crop or backyard plants, you need to report this to Biosecurity Tasmania by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

About tomato potato psyllid

The tomato potato psyllid causes injury to plants directly by its feeding. It can also transmit a bacterial disease known as zebra chip which poses an additional threat to important horticultural crops, particularly potatoes. Damage to crops is most severe when the insect vector and bacteria coincide.  The bacterium has not been detected in Western Australia.

The noticeable signs of the tomato potato psyllid include insects jumping from the foliage when disturbed, severe wilting of plants occurs when there are large numbers of psyllids feeding, yellowing of leaf margins and upward curling of the leaves, and honeydew and psyllid sugar make the plants sticky and they often appear dirty.

Actions taken by Biosecurity Tasmania thus far

Importation pathways for risk produce from Western Australia have been investigated by Biosecurity Tasmania. With some exceptions Tasmania does not receive risk produce directly from Western Australia reducing risk of movement into Tasmania.  Where produce may enter, it is via South Australia or Victoria first and must meet those State’s emergency conditions thus buffering risk for Tasmania.  

Tasmania has had treatment requirements on a range of risk material should any pathway exist, hence mitigating risk.  Additional requirements are not deemed necessary at this time.

The Chief Plant Health Manager (Tasmania) has declared TPP a List A Pest under the Plant Quarantine Act 1997 enabling regulatory action to be taken if needed.  He has also issued an Area Freedom certificate for TPP to support continued access. for Tasmanian produce being exported interstate.  An industry information forum will be organised by Biosecurity Tasmania in the near future as additional information comes to hand.

As a general reminder, all growers need to practise sound farm biosecurity to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. Find out more at

Further information and images of the pest
Plant Health Australia:

Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species;

Biosecurity Advisory 2/2017 - Invasive Animals CRC national release of new strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV1 K5) in Tasmania – 2017

Invasive Animals CRC national release of new strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV1 K5) in Tasmania – 2017

To combat the threat of rabbits within Australia, the national release of a Korean strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5 will commence from the first week of March, 2017. Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus is also known as rabbit calicivirus.

The release of RHDV1 K5 comes after more than 10 years of testing through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre RHD Boost project and includes participation by over 600 community groups and land managers across Australia, including ten sites in Tasmania.

Biosecurity Tasmania will administer the RHDV1 K5 bait to the Tasmanian site land managers under permit requirements.

The release sites in Tasmania are:


Barrington, Binalong Bay, Bridgenorth, Falmouth, Jackeys Marsh, Railton and Rowella.


Cambridge, Hobart and Port Arthur.

As part of the project, the public is being urged to get involved by helping to track the spread of the virus through downloading the RabbitScan (FeralScan) smart phone app, where you can easily report evidence of disease to assist land managers across Australia understand the movement of the virus.

To report sightings of rabbits or evidence of disease in your region visit or download via the iTunes or GooglePlay stores through searching for 'FeralScan'.

Visit the PestSmart website for more details on the national release of RHDV1 K5.

RHDV1 K5 only affects European rabbits and is a naturally occurring variant of RHDV1 from Korea.   RHDV1 K5 poses no risk to human health or other non-target species. However, domestic rabbits and farmed rabbits may be affected. It is recommended that domestic rabbit owners and commercial rabbit breeders consult their local veterinarian about vaccinations and provide additional protection against the virus by keeping rabbits inside or in insect-proof enclosures.

Later this year (likely to be between May and June 2017), Biosecurity Tasmania expect to undertake another release of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus if conditions are favourable for effective release.

For further information on Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, please contact Biosecurity Tasmania:  Northern Tasmania: 03 6421 7635 and Southern Tasmania: 03 6165 3265. 


PestSmart website:

Categories: Invasive Species; Livestock; Wildlife;

Biosecurity Advisory 1/2017 - Russian Wheat Aphid Found in Tasmania

​Biosecurity Advisory 1/2017 - Russian wheat aphid found in Tasmania

Russian wheat aphid, a serious insect pest of wheat, barley and some other cereal crops has been detected in Tasmania near Cressy.  It was first detected in Australia 13 May 2016 in South Australia and spread rapidly to Victoria and New South Wales. The National Management Group determined it was not technically feasible to eradicate the aphid for several reasons including its wide distribution soon after detection.
It most likely spread to Tasmania on northerly airflows.

Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia, is a small green aphid whose feeding produces strong plant symptoms due to the injection of saliva into the plant.
Symptoms include rolled leaves, chlorotic spots, leaf streaking, trapped awns giving a hooked appearance and stunted crop.
These aphids spend their entire life on cereals and grasses. They survive only a few days without feeding on suitable plants. The hosts that are most severely affected are barley and wheat. Other primary hosts include durum wheat, field broom grass, Elymus sp. and jointed goatgrass. Secondary hosts allow the aphid to survive but not reproduce. These include cereal rye, triticale and various grasses such as oats, tall wheat grass and Indian rice grass.

The presence of the aphid is not an export quarantine issue. Russian wheat aphids are best adapted to the dry climate of the mainland Australian wheat belt and are not well adapted to the moist Tasmanian climate.
Natural control by brown lacewings, ladybirds and hoverflies is likely to be strong in Tasmania.

What to do if you think you have found Russian wheat aphid

Plant Diagnostic Services in Biosecurity Tasmania (DPIPWE) will identify aphids suspected of being Russian wheat aphid free of charge.
Specimens or images can be submitted to a DPIPWE entomologist call 1300 368 550 to be directed to an entomologist.
Samples of plants bearing aphids should be secured in sealed double plastic bags along with some absorbent paper towel.

More information

  • A national team of grain pest experts is developing advice for managing Russian wheat aphid and identifying research priorities. Their information and general information with images of the aphid can be found at the Plant Health Australia website at 
  • DPIPWE has general information and a diagnostic image at

Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species;

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