How bushland visitors and workers can avoid spreading myrtle rust
Rusts are highly transportable because they can produce large numbers of very small spores.
Myrtle rust can be dispersed by:
- Movement of infected plant material (e.g. nursery stock, plant cuttings)
- Movement of contaminated equipment (secateurs, chainsaws)
- Wind, water (e.g. wind-driven rain) and gravity
- Animals (insects including bees, birds, other wildlife, pets)
- Humans (on clothing, shoes and jewellery)
Myrtle rust spores on a jacket
The bushland you visit could be infected with myrtle rust without you knowing it. Before entering such areas for work or recreation, you should consider the risk of your activity spreading the rust and how to minimise this risk using the measures outlined below.
If possible, limit the number of sites you visit to one per day.
Arrive clean, leave clean
Ensure your vehicle is clean before entering a bushland area, to reduce the chances that your car will carry the spores into bushland.
Where possible, leave vehicles in a designated car park and don't allow host plants to come in direct contact with the vehicle. If possible, limit the number of vehicles entering the bushland area.
Vehicles (including trailers, trucks and skips) that have been in contact with myrtaceous plants should be washed thoroughly before going to a new bushland site.
Change into clean clothes, including hats, gloves and footwear, before moving to another bushland site.
Tools and equipment
If possible, clean equipment such as secateurs, shovels and chainsaws before moving to another site. Remove soil, leaves and mud, and clean with water and detergent (or a disinfectant such as a benzalkonium chloride compound). For ease of cleaning, use tools that do not have wooden or cracked handles.
Wipe electronic items, such as mobile phones and GPS units, with a disinfectant cloth, or use them in a plastic bag and wash or dispose of the bag before moving to another site.
Work groups should consider having a designated area where all clothing and equipment can be cleaned.
Clothing, footwear and personal effects
After visiting bushland, wash clothes, hats and gloves before wearing them in another bushland site or garden.
To clean footwear, remove soil, leaves and mud, and then wash using water and detergent or a disinfectant.
Wipe down any other personal effects with water and detergent or a disinfectant cloth.
If possible, clean camping and hiking equipment before moving to another site or when you arrive home.
Place personal rubbish in a bag and seal it. Wipe down the outside of the sealed bag before removing it from the site.
Minimise the number of items you bring to the site to reduce the opportunity to spread myrtle rust.
People who visit bushland must be aware of what myrtle rust looks like and the plants that it can affect.
Avoid parking or camping close to plants that might be a host for myrtle rust. If you suspect myrtle rust, report it on the contact numbers below.
Keep to tracks
When driving through bushland areas, try to stick to allocated roadways and tracks to minimise contact between vehicles and myrtaceous plants.
When hiking or bushwalking, stay on pathways wherever they are available.
Don't move plants
A plant may be infected with myrtle rust before is shows visible signs of the disease. Don't move plants or plant cuttings into or out of bushland areas.
Report suspected myrtle rust
Any bushland plants you suspect of being infected with myrtle rust should be reported immediately to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) on 1800 084 881.
Alternatively, you can take electronic photos of the suspect material and email to firstname.lastname@example.org together with a contact phone number.