Dieback Consultative Council

The DCC was formed by the then Minister for The Environment Mrs Cheryl Edwards MLA in late 1997 in response to recommendations Western Australian Dieback Review Panel.

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Hygiene in uninfested areas

Phytophthora dieback is most rapidly spread through human activity resulting in the movement of infested soil on vehicles, equipment & footwear. Therefore, this risk of spread of the disease creates a significant problem in the forestry, mining, extractive and construction industries. It is also a important issue for recreational bushland users such as four-wheel drives, off-road motor bikes, mountain bikes and bush walkers.

To prevent the spread of Phytophthora dieback into an uninfested area or within an area industries need to adopt strict hygiene measures. These hygiene measures don't need to be a hindrance, but they do require some forward planning. During the planning stage it is important to determine the risks associated with the operation. The table below outlines examples of activities that are high risk or low risk.

High Risk

Low Risk

  • operation over large area
  • complex operation
  • much machinery
  • much soil movement
  • untrained personnel
  • wet conditions
  • sticky soils
  • low lying site
  • dieback known nearby
  • operation over small area
  • simple operation
  • few machines
  • little soil movement
  • well trained personnel
  • experienced personnel
  • dry conditions
  • non-sticking soils
  • elevated site
  • dieback not known nearby

Prior to the commencement of the operation it is essential to conduct a survey to determine the distribution of the pathogen across the area of the operation. The results of the disease survey may indicate a number of scenarios, the site may be:

  • Entirely infested with Phytophthora dieback.
  • Entirely free from Phytophthora dieback.
  • Partially infested and uninfested of Phytophthora dieback.
  • Uninterpretable due to absence of indicator species or recent disturbance.

The management strategy will vary according to the relevant scenario. However, the greatest effort is required to ensure that sites that are currently uninfested remain free of the disease. The hygiene protocols for these four scenario's are shown in the table below.

Table. Hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of Phytophthora dieback.
Scenario Hygiene Protocol
Site is fully infested Clean on exit
Site is dieback-free Clean on entry
Site is only partially infested Clean on entry to dieback-free areas. Clean on exit from infested areas. Consider a split-phase operation
Uninterpretable Precautionary principle: clean on entry, clean on exit

Cleaning footwear

A small portable footbath are ideal when travelling in vehicles or organising field days for washing footwear. A footbath can be made from a plastic tub fitted with a rubber or plastic doormat, a scrubbing brush and a container of clean water. Either bleach, methyl spirits or the fungicide Phytoclean should be added to footbaths to sterilise the footwear or equipment being cleaned.

Vehicle washdown

When practical a purpose built wash bay should be used. These wash bays would include:

  • A hard surface to park the vehicle on. If cleaning in the field chose a site away from susceptible vegetation that is mud-free.
  • A high pressure cleaner or small fire pump.
  • Access to some stiff brushes and crow bars to aid the removal of soil/ mud.
  • The use of bleach or Phytoclean to sterilise the vehicle during or after washdown.
  • A drain to collect the effluent. The water from the drain MUST NOT be allowed to enter nearby bushland. Consider an effective effluent management system or a holding tank that allows for adequate treatment of the effluent.

When cleaning vehicles consider the following tips:

  • Use a high pressure water unit or fire pump to clean off soil/mud sticking to tyres, mud flaps and the under carriage of the vehicle
  • Remove only those cover plates that can be quickly and easily removed and replaced
  • No clods of soil should be present after washdown. Some soil stains or mud splash on the vehicle is acceptable
  • Avoid driving through removed soil/mud after cleaning down. The use of ramps will prevent the recontamination when cleaning down is conducted in the field
  • If cleaning in bushland areas consider dry cleaning with stiff brushes to avoid creating run-off

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