The Royal Australian Mint has released a special one dollar coin featuring a detector dog on duty to mark the centenary of Australian Quarantine.

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) is responsible for protecting Australia’s borders from exotic pets and diseases. AQIS also provides import and export inspection to support access to overseas markets.

The special uncirculated coin acknowledges the work and commitment of AQIS in protecting Australia’s unique environment and our multi-million dollar agricultural and tourism industries. The success of these quarantine practices has resulted in Australia remaining free from many of the world’s worst agriculture pests and diseases.

“Whilst many Australians are aware of the work carried out by detector dogs at airports, the dedication and extraordinary work carried out by many individuals and organisations is often less known”, AQIS Executive Director Stephen Hunter said.

“The centenary is a unique opportunity to acknowledge the work and commitment of the thousands of staff who inspect and clear millions of passenger items, ships, mail items, cargo containers, plants and animals and live imports and exports each year. Their integrity and professionalism helps protect Australia’s multi-billion-dollar industries and our natural flora and fauna.”

The coin design features a luggage bag shaped as Australia, with stickers identifying the key hazards and protection issues. Also featured is a Beagle detector dog on duty. Beagles are selected as AQIS detector dogs because of their friendly nature and their extraordinary sense of smell, which is said to be at least 100 times more acute than humans. Whilst Beagles are commonly selected, other breeds such as Labradors, Border Collies, Pointers and Terriers have also been found suitable as detector dogs.

To purchase the 2008 Centenary of Australian Quarantine $1 coin, please visit www.ramint.gov.au, call 1300 652 020 or visit the Royal Australian Mint’s premises in Deakin, ACT. Selected Australia Post outlets may also have stock available.