Popular Christmas present poses potential biosecurity risk

Published Thursday, 22 December, 2022 at 03:32 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

A plant makes for a fantastic and unique last-minute gift this festive season—provided it is a non-invasive species and free from disease and pests.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said gifting healthy, non-invasive plants was a good way to share the holiday spirit.

“Plants make a thoughtful Christmas present for our loved ones and are sure to be a hit with avid green thumbs and new gardeners alike,” Mr Furner said.

“But it’s important we know what our loved ones are receiving.

“Certain plant species, as well as sick or infested plants, could pose a biosecurity risk to Queensland.

“If allowed to spread, invasive plant species can destroy hectares of land, harm livestock and wildlife and cause significant economic damage.

“One such plant is the drooping tree pear cactus, which is closely related to the prickly pear and can spread in the same way.

“This invasive plant is often for sale on the online marketplace and at car boot sales, rather than through legitimate nurseries.

“Many buyers may not realise the plant is prohibited and has the potential to invade huge spans of Queensland.”

Similarly, pests and plant diseases can spread from plant to plant, posing a biosecurity risk to Queensland.

“When shopping for plants, always make sure you’re buying healthy plants that aren’t invasive,” Mr Furner said.

“Let’s keep Queensland safe by avoiding giving a biosecurity hazard as a gift.”

The Biosecurity Act 2014 requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.

If you have or think you know someone who is keeping or selling illegal plants, please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.


Media contact:          Ron Goodman            0427 781 920