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Bug response wins national award

GREATER Sydney Local Land Services has won a national biosecurity award winner for their work to stop the spread of a highly invasive pest discovered in Glendenning in partnership with NSW DPI.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) was discovered and reported by Hager Electro warehouse manager John Matakaiongo in a shipment of imported electrical equipment from Italy.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services General Manager David Hogan said what followed was an exhaustive and ultimately successful on-ground campaign by 15 officers over more than six months.

“BMSB is on the Department of Agriculture’s top 40 exotic and unwanted plant pest list and poses a significant threat to our $1 billion horticultural industry,” he said.

“If allowed to spread, the impact would be devastating.”

Mr Hogan said it was an honour for his team to be recognised.

“The effort of our officers in protecting our agricultural industry from this very serious threat was outstanding,” he said.

The response saw 15 officers from across the organisation contribute almost 4500 hours, inspect 2,000 traps, scour more than 300 ha of bushland, industrial areas and local homes and deploy more than 180 traps within 5km of the area.

It also involved speaking to local schools, businesses and residents to raise awareness around the threat of BMSB.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services received a Government Category award for “outstanding contribution to the integrity of Australia’s biosecurity.”

He praised John and the Hager electro team for immediately reporting the threat.

“Community members play a critical role in keeping our shores pest and disease free by reporting anything unusual,” he said.

Report a pest, disease or other risk through the NSW DPI biosecurity hotline or phone 1800 680 244. Inva

ENDS

Media contact: Nikki McGrath, Greater Sydney Local Land Services, 02 4724 2138