Preparation for ruminants...and the PEQ facility wins an award.

Following the official handover to the department at the end of June, the PEQ team spent the first half of July ensuring that the new ruminant compound was fit for purpose before commencing operations later in the year.

During this operational commissioning phase 30 locally sourced alpacas checked into the compound to run through operational processes. This test run was part of quality assurance activities to ensure the compound is ready to start accepting imported stock from August.

Alpacas are the most common ruminant expected to come through the Mickleham PEQ facility.

While alpacas are the most common ruminant - a type of mammal with multiple stomachs - expected to come through the Mickleham PEQ facility, other frequently imported types could include llamas.

The alpacas were initially surprised by their first-ever night spent under a roof instead of the open sky, but they soon settled into their new accommodation and made themselves at home. In fact, it wasn't long before they started wandering around and exploring the six large turnout paddocks surrounding the pens.

The alpacas exploring the turnout paddocks.

After spending just under two weeks at the Mickleham PEQ facility, the alpacas returned to their home farm in Northern Victoria. Thanks to their test run, future imported ruminants will enjoy a smooth transition through Australia's post entry quarantine.

The alpacas soon settled into their new accomodation and made themselves at home.

In other exciting news, on 4 August the Mickleham PEQ facility was announced as the winner of the category for Excellence in Construction of Industrial Buildings, in the Master Builders Association of Victoria's 2017 Building Excellence Awards.

The awards showcase outstanding craftsmanship and professional standards, and demonstrate commitment to building excellence in the commercial and industrial sectors throughout Victoria. This is further recognition that our PEQ facility in Mickleham is world-class. The facility also continues to expand with the avian compound currently under construction.

Category: 

Completion of the new ruminant compound

Ruminants

Construction of the new ruminant compound at Mickleham is complete, with only a few final defect works underway. The compound consists of a large shed with a modifiable internal fencing system, as well as six large turnout paddocks with fixed shelters that will house imported ruminants.

The turnout paddocks, with the fixed shelters for housing imported ruminants shown in the background.

In addition, there are a series of other facilities located within the ruminant compound to support biosecurity functions, including a truck wash area, animal holding area and inspections office.

During the last few weeks, the Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) team have been busy completing the final walkthroughs to identify any building defects, and also progressing the signoff for this compound.

The northern side of the main shed within the ruminant compound.

The new ruminant compound was officially handed over to the department on 23 June 2017. The next scheduled activity for the compound is the operational commissioning phase, which involves making sure that it is fit for purpose before it starts accepting any imported animals.

During this phase, which has been scheduled to run from 12-24 July, approximately 30 locally sourced alpacas will be on site to run through operational processes and ensure that the compound is ready to start accepting imported stock.

Avians

The build and fitout of the avian compound is also progressing well, with this compound on track to be completed during July 2017. Following the completion of the construction phase, the 12 month long operational commissioning will commence, with the avian compound beginning to accept imported stock in 2019.

Once fully operational, the avian compound will have the highest level of biosecurity containment out of all of the compounds at the Mickleham PEQ facility.

The southern side of the main shed in the ruminant compound, showing the avian compound in the background.

The biocontainment rooms have started undergoing pressurisation tests, which have been progressing well. The PEQ team are currently engaging with industry representatives to gather feedback on the proposed cages that will house the live birds while they undergo their post entry quarantine period.

The new avian facility replaces the current PEQ facilities located at Torrens Island and Spotswood, and once completed will combine live bird and hatching egg capabilities within a single building envelope.

This envelope will contain a series of individual and completely separate containment areas, all with their own access points. The combined floor space of the three hatching egg areas will be more than three times that of the Torrens Island facility, and the live bird capacity will be doubled.

Category: 

Dog compound expansion work now completed

Dogs

The Stage 2 Build expansion work for the dog compound has now been completed, and the new section of the compound was handed over to the department on 27 March 2017. The Stage 2 Build work has added 180 more dog pens to this compound, bringing the total capacity to 400 pens.

The dog compound now contains 400 pens in total.

There are now also additional exercise yards and support areas within the dog compound, including additional veterinary inspection rooms and a suite of new isolation pens.

The additional exercise yards within the dog compound.

Some upgrades have also been made to the new dog pens based on feedback from the Stage 1 Build, including new door handles and air flow grills. As a result of the Stage 2 Build expansion work, the total size of the dog compound is now comparable to the Melbourne Cricket Ground!

The upgraded dog pens with new door handles and air flow grills.

Ruminants

The Ruminant compound build is also progressing well and on track for handover to the department during May 2017. Once completed, the ruminant compound will include a large shed with a modifiable internal fencing system and six large turnout paddocks with fixed shelters for the housing of imported ruminants.

One of the turnout paddocks, with the fixed shelters shown in the background.

In addition to this, there will be a series of other facilities to support biosecurity functions including a truck wash area, alpaca holding area and inspections office. Once handover of the ruminant compound has occurred, the department will undertake a short period of operational commissioning with domestic alpacas to ensure this compound is fit for purpose before imported stock will be accepted at the Mickleham PEQ facility.

Category: 

Cat compound now completed

Stage 2 construction works at the Post Entry Quarantine facility in Mickleham have been progressing at a rapid pace over the last few months, with the completion of the cat compound and continuing work on the dog, ruminant and avian compounds.

In December 2016, the Stage 2 Build expansion work for the cat compound was completed, and this compound has now been handed over to the department. As a result of this expansion work, the total capacity of this compound has now been increased to 240 cats.

The 12 month operational commissioning phase for the cat compound has now started, and it will go live and start accepting imported cats during 2018.

The cat compound will now house 240 cats.

The Stage 2 Build expansion work for the dog compound has also continued, with the outer wall of this compound being erected, and the individual dog clusters and pens contained within being progressed significantly.

Once this construction work has been completed, the capacity of this compound will be doubled, with a total of 400 dogs being housed there. The Stage 2 Build expansion work for the dog compound is expected to be completed during March of this year, with the operational commissioning phase for this compound also commencing at this time.

The outer wall of the dog compound goes up.

Construction of the ruminant compound has commenced, with a projected date for completion in May of this year. Clearing of the land has begun, and the building foundations and plumbing are currently being laid. Further construction of the turnout yards, waste store area, bulk food store and the administrative site office will also continue throughout the rest of February and March.

Clearing of land for the ruminant compound begins.

Construction of the external and internal walls (building envelope) and roof of the avian compound continues, with a projected completion date of July 2017. When completed, this compound will replace the current avian PEQ facilities located at Torrens Island and Spotswood, combining the live bird and hatching egg areas within a single building envelope. The capacity of the live bird area will be increased substantially, with up to 300 pigeons being housed there. In addition to this, the hatching eggs area will have three times the capacity of the current avian PEQ facilities.

Construction of the avian compound external walls and roof continues.

Category: 

Avian compound takes shape

Stage two construction works at the Post Entry Quarantine facility at Mickleham are continuing with the avian facility and second stage of the dog compound starting to take shape.

At the avian compound the external and internal walls have been going up over the past few weeks.

This compound will combine live bird and hatching egg capabilities. There will be a series of individual and completely separate containment areas, all with separate access.

Once complete, the capacity of the live bird areas will increase with the total occupancy for pigeons raised to 300 in two separate areas. The hatching eggs area will be three times the current capacity.

The avian compound will be a Quarantine Containment Level 3 facility to mitigate the biosecurity risks associated with avian imports. It will be completed and operational by 2018.

The first phase of the dog compound was opened at the end of 2015 and has been accepting dogs since November.  A second phase of works will double the capacity for imported dogs meaning this facility, when complete, will house a total of 400 dogs.

These works are progressing well with the slab already poured and the contractors preparing to start putting up walls.

All kennels feature heating and outdoor exercise yards. The dog compound also features a range of support areas including veterinary examination rooms, food preparation spaces, support rooms and grassed exercise yards complete with shade sails. To assist with noise mitigation, the compound has been surrounded by a four-metre wall with internal acoustic panels to absorb noise. The ceilings of the kennels have also been treated with acoustic panels.

The internal and external walls of the avian compound go up

The second stage of construction of the dog compound begins

Category: 

Phase two works underway

The second phase of the build of the new Post Entry Quarantine facility in Mickleham has started.

Construction of the avian facility is now underway following the recent ground breaking at the site where the compound will be located. The Avian facility will be completed by 2018 and will replace current facilities at Torrens Island and Spotswood.

The facility at Mickleham will combine live bird and hatching egg capabilities in a single building envelope. The envelope will contain a series of individual and completely separate containment areas, all with separate access.

The combined floor space of the three hatching egg areas represents more than a three-fold increase in the Torrens Island capacity and is capable of further expansion.

The capacity of the two live bird areas has also increased by almost 100 per cent with the total occupancy for pigeons raised to 300 in two separate areas. Individual areas are able to be used in isolation or occupied concurrently by one importer, depending on the size of the import consignment.

The entire post entry avian quarantine compound has been designed to Quarantine Containment Level 3 to mitigate the biosecurity risks associated with avian imports. The design is complemented by operational procedures to protect each consignment from cross-contamination.

Construction is also about to begin on the second stage of the cats and dogs facility and work on the ruminant facility is also starting.

Operations for horses, cats, dogs and plants are have been underway at the new post entry quarantine (PEQ) facility since November 2015.
 


Works start at the ruminant compound

Category: 

Animal operations run smoothly as works continue

The new Post Entry Quarantine facility welcomed its first intake of cats and dogs on 23 November 2015 and then horses and plants in December 2015. Three months on, operations are running smoothly and the facility has already played host to around 800 animals arriving into quarantine.

Of that, there have been almost 100 horses, 525 dogs and 220 cats.

Horses imported so far include Thoroughbreds, Friesians and German Ponies. The facility has two identical horse compounds with a capacity of 40 horses each. The compounds are supported by modern veterinary and exercise facilities.

The most popular breeds of dogs imported through Mickleham so far has been Labrador, Jack Russell Terriers, Poodles, Shih Tzu and Golden Retrievers as listed below. The dogs are housed in one of the 226 kennels which include floor heating, veterinary examination rooms and exercise yards. Phase two of building the dog compound will take capacity up to 400 animals.
 

Breed Number imported
 Labrador  40
 Jack Russell Terrier  33
 Poodle  26
 Shih Tzu  22
 Golden Retriever  18
   

Of the 220 imported cats there has been an interesting range, most cats were domestic cats but the facility has also welcomed some exotic breeds including Siamese and Norwegian Forest Cats.  There are currently 120 cat pens, stage two works will increase this capacity to 240.  The top five imported breeds in the past three months were:

 

 Breed Number Imported
 Domestic Cat  115
 British Short Hair  16
 Burmese  11
 Siamese  8
 Norwegian Forest Cat  6

The facility is now hosting its first plant imports with stone fruits and a variety of ornamental plants currently in quarantine.  The newly imported plants join 1500 domestic root stocks for stone fruit, apple, pear and citrus which were transferred from the existing facility at Knoxfield and citrus cultivars from Eastern Creek, Sydney.

Further development of the site under stage two works include the development of the ruminant and avian compounds. These works have commenced and are scheduled to be completed by 2018.

Category: 

Official opening ceremony of Australia’s new post entry quarantine facility

The new Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Victoria has been officially opened by the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP.  The facility will be available to provide post entry quarantine for bees, cats, dogs, horses and plants this year.
 

Official Opening Plaque

 

The opening ceremony was attended by industry and officials involved with the consultation, development and construction of the facility. The opening event included the unveiling of a plaque and a tour for interested stakeholders.

Set on 144 hectares on the northern outskirts of Melbourne, the new facility will cater for the import of birds (pigeons), fertile hatching eggs of poultry, bees, cats, dogs, horses, ruminants (mainly alpacas) and plants. The site is more than five times the size of the largest existing facility.

The construction of the new facility has been planned in two main phases, the first phase which has now been officially opened includes the bee facility, plant compound, horse compounds and the first stage of the dog and cat compounds. These compounds will be operational this year.

The second phase is the building of the avian and ruminant compounds, and stage two of the dog and cat compounds which will be open in 2018.
It has been designed featuring modern laboratories, cat and dog kennels with high standards of animal welfare, technically sophisticated design for the avian and plant compounds, horse compounds that provide greater flexibility, a high level of security and public zones for visitors. Importantly, the facility also has space for future growth.

The Mickleham post entry quarantine facility is an important element of Australia’s biosecurity system that will support the management of high risk plant and animal imports into Australia.

Preparations are well underway for the first arrival of dogs and cats in November.
 

Overview of the plant compound

 

The completed reception building
Category: 

Dog and cat facility hosts first stay

The dog and cat compounds of the new Mickleham facility have concluded operational commissioning this week. The commissioning tests the new facility with domestic animals as a final check to ensure it is ready to accept international arrivals.

The Department of Agriculture worked with the Lost Dogs’ Home to have 22 dogs and cats stay at the facility for a period of a week. Some of the staff became so attached to their charges that they have already applied to adopt them.

The cats and dogs enjoyed the highest welfare standards while the department was able to trial and streamline its procedures in both the dog and the cat compounds.
 

Charlie enjoying the underfloor heating at the new PEQ dog compound.

 

The facility has climate controlled kennels, exercise yards and comfortable accommodation.

Thousands of cats and dogs are imported into Australia each year. Since 1993, an estimated 80 000 cats and dogs have been imported into Australia.

 

Augustus settling in to the new cat pen.

 

The new post entry quarantine facility will manage the risk of exotic pests and diseases establishing in Australia. Rabies is the most significant disease of concern associated with the import of cats and dogs, primarily due to the often fatal consequences of rabies virus infection in all mammals, including humans.

Post entry quarantine also serves to ensure there are no exotic ticks on cats and dogs as ticks can also carry diseases. The 10 day quarantine period, in addition to testing conducted offshore prior to import, allows biosecurity and veterinary officers sufficient time to assess that the animals are healthy and are not carrying diseases or parasites.

The PEQ facility will start taking online bookings next month and then open progressively, taking cats and dogs from 23 November.

 

Hudson keeping watch.

 

Category: 

Confirmed dates for commodity intakes at the new post entry quarantine facility

The Australian Government is investing in the future of Australia’s biosecurity system through the design and construction of a new post entry quarantine facility in Mickleham, Victoria. The facility will be officially opened in October 2015 and will begin to accept its first commodity intakes.

Commodity intakes at Mickleham have been staggered across October through to December to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption to services. The availability of the facility for the first commodity intakes are:

  • bees from 19 October
  • cats and dogs from 23 November
  • horses from 30 November
  • plants from 1 December 2015.
  •  

Once fully completed in 2018, the new facility will replace all of the department’s existing quarantine facilities at Eastern Creek in NSW, Torrens Island in SA and Knoxfield and Spotswood in VIC. As the leases on these facilities expire over the next three years, imported animals and plants will stop being accepted at these facilities.

The first facility to close will be the Eastern Creek Quarantine Station which will cease to accept animal arrivals after 9 November 2015.

If you require assistance or further information about booking your plant or animal into the new post entry quarantine facility, please see the Department of Agriculture website for importing cats and dogs, horses, plants and bees. For further information on the design of the facility, visit the facility design page.

 

The facility is close to completion with landscaping underway across the site.