Importing cats and dogs

A dog kennel run under construction at the new PEQ facility. The enclosures will include outdoor areas and indoor areas with underfloor heating.

 

Anyone who’s owned pets knows how Rover and Mittens quickly become part of the family. But what happens should you decide to move to Australia? Rather than leaving their much-loved pet behind, many families will seek to bring their cat or dog to Australia. Cats and dogs are also imported by breeders within Australia to improve and diversify genetic bloodlines.

Owners can import cats and dogs to Australia from over 100 countries around the world. Before leaving their country of origin, cats and dogs must meet a series of import conditions including vaccinations, testing and treatment for a range of diseases and for internal and external parasites. Countries approved for import are classified into three categories according to disease risk, and these categories affect the conditions of entry and quarantine requirements for cats and dogs. Category one territories and countries have a health status similar to Australia, and subject to conditions, cats and dogs from these countries can travel to Australia without a permit or being quarantined after arrival. Most approved countries are category two or three, which means that rabies is absent or well-controlled but animals still require quarantine upon arrival in Australia due to other disease risks. Cats and dogs from these countries must go to a government-operated Post Entry Quarantine facility for a minimum of 10 days. During this time they are monitored to further confirm their good health status. Post Entry Quarantine is the final step in the importing process to prevent exotic diseases from threatening our domestic animals and human health.

The new facilities for the Post Entry Quarantine of cats and dogs are currently being built to replace the existing facilities in both Sydney and Melbourne. The new facilities are being built in two stages and will provide capacity for the quarantine of 240 cats and 400 dogs when completed in 2018. The first stage is expected to be completed and operating in late 2015. From this time cats and dogs will need to enter Australia through Melbourne airport and complete their Post Entry Quarantine at the new facility before being transported to their new homes throughout Australia.

Assistance dogs are subject to different conditions and will not be affected by the opening of the new Post Entry Quarantine Facility. For eligibility criteria and more information on bringing your assistance dog to Australia, click here.

For further information on bringing cats, dogs and other pets to Australia, click here. For further information on the design of the cat and dog compounds, visit the facility design page.

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Construction update: November 2014 – April 2015

The scale and progress of construction is clear in this aerial view of the future facility.

Construction at the new Post Entry Quarantine facility is progressing rapidly. Since November, the main structures of the horse, cat and dog compounds have been erected and the roofs added. The glasshouses, screenhouse and laboratory in the plant compound have been built and climate control systems are installed. The bee compound was completed and buildings providing site-wide services such as the dispatch, administration and central utilities building, are expected to be finished in the coming months.

Buildings across the facility are now being fitted out. For example, IT infrastructure has been installed in the bee compound, while ceilings, stable gates and lighting have been added to the horse compound, and painting is underway at the plant laboratory.

The photos below give a snapshot of the variety of construction activity that occurred across the compounds for different commodities over the last six months. To see the monthly progression of each of the compounds, visit our photo gallery.

The sturdy concrete walls of the horse compound erected in November 2014.

 

Greenhouses being assembled in December 2014.

 

The frame for the cat compound was erected by March 2015.

 

By April 2015, individual kennels in the dog compound had been built. Gates and other fixtures are being added.

 

The external structure of the diagnostics laboratory and utilities building within the plant compound was complete at April 2015. Internal wall and floor surfaces are being completed this month.

Testing begins at plant compound

Domestic pomegranates in one of the new greenhouses

More than 500 domestic plants were delivered to the new Post Entry Quarantine facility in Mickleham, Victoria last week. Over the next four months, these plants will be housed in various greenhouses within the plant compound while operational commissioning tests are progressing. Although construction of the laboratory within the plant compound is still underway, the plants have been brought in now to allow us to finetune functions in the greenhouses as early as possible. Testing our processes early, and across all Melbourne seasons, will help ensure a smooth transition of operations to the new facility.

When complete, the new biosecure facility will include 2000 square metres of greenhouse space, which represents a 33% increase in capacity from current facilities. The new plant compound will also include an integrated diagnostics laboratory which will be used by our plant pathologists to monitor the health of the plants in quarantine.

When the new facility opens at the end of 2015, this will be the only Commonwealth-operated facility for high-risk plants imported to Australia. As such, the compound will provide post entry quarantine services for plants suited to the broad range of conditions across the country. To mimic Australia’s different climatic regions, the greenhouses are divided into zones where factors such as temperature and humidity can be independently adjusted for each house. Maintaining appropriate growing conditions within each greenhouse during the quarantine period is required to ensure adequate plant growth for the disease screening process.

Some commodity lines, including citrus plants, need to be held in quarantine for a minimum of two years to ensure that they are free of diseases that could harm our horticultural, agricultural and forestry industries, and our environment.

This week, additional tropical plants such as bananas and lychees have also been moved into the greenhouses to test how the greenhouse functions to maintain warm, humid conditions during the Melbourne autumn and winter.

For more information on how to import plants into Australia click here.

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Construction of the bee facility complete and ready for testing

The bee facility is the first building completed at the new Post Entry Quarantine Facility

Construction of the facility for imported bees at the Mickleham Post Entry Quarantine Facility is now complete. After careful planning and research, officers from the Department of Agriculture are excited to be testing the new facility over the coming weeks. For the testing, post entry quarantine processes will be carried out using domestic bees. Once testing at the compound has been successfully completed, imported bees may be quarantined at the new facility from the end of 2015.

Tests in the bee facility will conclude with a process called ‘grafting’, which is used to raise queen bees. Queen bees hatch from eggs that are identical to those of worker bees. However, queen bee eggs hatch in a special type of cell containing ‘royal jelly’. It is the consumption of this jelly that causes larvae to develop into queen bees. Grafting ensures queen bees are produced by moving bee eggs or young larvae from the ordinary worker bee cells into plastic queen bee cells containing royal jelly. The resulting queen bee cells are the only material that importers are able to remove from the post entry quarantine facility.

The queen bees bred from imported parent bees can then be used to establish new colonies in Australia. The genetics of the queen, and the drone bees she mates with, determine the genetics of the whole bee colony. The quarantine processes allow beekeepers to increase genetic diversity of their bees to improve traits such as honey production and disease resistance, while minimising the risk of diseases entering the country.

The bee facility is the first of seven compounds to be constructed. The facility for plants is also close to completion.

For more information on why we import bees click here. Detailed information on the bee import process at the existing post entry quarantine facility can be found here, and more information on raising queen honey bees can be found here.

 

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Time-lapse video of construction in 2014

As 2015 begins, so does another year of construction at the site of the new Post Entry Quarantine Facility in Mickleham, Victoria.

Since construction commenced in May 2014, the site has been a flurry of activity. Cameras at the site have been on duty to collect daily images of the construction progress.

To see how much progress has been made, please see the time-lapse video below, showing pictures of the site from May till November 2014. The video is also available on the Department of Agriculture's YouTube Channel.

Time-lapse video of construction at the new PEQ facility in 2014

To see this progress in photos, have a look at our new photo gallery which contains monthly photos of the progress at each of the compounds. Check back every month to look at the progress of these buildings through 2015.

Modernising the way we deliver PEQ services

Industry clients and individuals who access the Department of Agriculture post entry quarantine services have taken part in a collaborative process to redesign how biosecurity services will be delivered at Australia’s new Post Entry Quarantine Facility, due to commence operations in 2015.
At workshops held in Melbourne and Sydney, clients of the department’s existing post entry quarantine (PEQ) facilities contributed their experience of how we currently interact with them and offered ideas on how to streamline business processes and improve client service through better use of modern technology and tools.
“It was great having representatives from all the industries who will be using the new PEQ facility and the co-design approach challenged participants to think through what we would really need or want for future interactions,” said Chris Prestwood, a turkey fertile egg importer.
Consultation with our PEQ clients is part of the department’s broader work to improve the way we deliver services, to make it easier for clients to work with us and meet Australia’s regulatory requirements. For more information, visit Working with you on the department’s website.
If you would like to be involved in any future engagement opportunities or would like more information about the department’s service delivery changes, please contact the department.

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A buzz about bees

Some people might wonder why the future PEQ facility will have a compound devoted to bees. Bees don’t just provide delicious honey, but also honey products such as beeswax, and pollination services. Australia imports queen bees for the purpose of increasing genetic diversity and disease resistance within our bee populations. Around the world, there are a number of pests and diseases which can impact on bees. Some of these, including Varroa mite and Tracheal mite, are not currently present within Australia. As exotic pests and diseases would have negative impacts on the Australian Bee industry, strict guidelines have been developed for the importation and quarantine of queen bees.
 

Click to open. Worker bee with Varroa mite (circled), obtained from the Honey bee biosecurity threats brochure

The bee compound at the future PEQ facility has been designed to meet Australia’s forecast needs for imported bees, allowing bee keepers access to improved genetic stock and reducing the risk to industry. For information about the future bee compound click here or for more information about the Australian Honey Bee Industry, please visit Plant Health Australia’s Honey Bees page.

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Construction update: May to November 2014

Since the official sod turning in May, there has been a great deal of activity at the future PEQ site. A number of Phase 1 buildings have started to take shape including the bee and plant compounds, the central utilities building and the dispatch building. For further information on these buildings click here.
 

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Pouring concrete for the bee compound. July 2014

 

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Continued construction of the bee compound. November 2014

 

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The plant compound under construction. August 2014

 

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Construction of the plant compound green houses. November 2014

In addition, construction has started on the horse, cat and dog compounds, the receivals and administration buildings. All these facilities are part of the first phase of construction, the completion of which will allow commencement of operations coinciding with the closure of the Eastern Creek PEQ facility in late 2015. For more information on existing PEQ operations click here or to learn more about the need to safeguard Australia’s biosecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.

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Dog food, cat food and kitty litter tender released

The Department of Agriculture has released a national procurement tender for the provision of dog and cat food and kitty litter to support operations within current and future Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facilities.

As part of Whole of Government arrangements, this procurement tender was released through the Government tender web site - AusTender.

Companies wishing to participate in this business opportunity are required to register on AusTender to access the tender documents, review the terms and conditions of this tender and consider their capabilities to meet the Statement of Requirement described in the tender.

Information about AusTender can be found on the AusTender website.
 

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Construction begins - ministerial sod turning

On 1 May 2014, the Minister for Agriculture, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, undertook a sod-turning at the site, publicly announcing the commencement of construction. A variety of stakeholders were also invited to attend the event, representing a mixture of plant and animal commodities that will be supported by the future PEQ facility.

The design of the future PEQ facility has progressed and is now close to finalisation. The schematic design of the main works and the detailed design of the early works were endorsed on 25 February 2014.

On 13 March 2014 an important milestone was reached and the project progressed into delivery phase with Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd being granted access to the site as the Managing Contractor for delivery of the facility. Construction on the early works commenced on 1 April 2014, to ensure the site is ready to begin construction of the main building works upon completion of the detailed main works design by August 2014.

With the delivery of the facility on schedule, it is anticipated that staged operations at the facility will commence from late 2015 and will be fully operational by the end of 2018.

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