JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Murray has confirmed he is working with the Department of Agriculture to re-open three Good Guys stores in Canberra and the Marsden Park distribution centre in Sydney following an outbreak of the dangerous Khapra Beetle within the Electrolux warehouse in Sydney.

“We are working with the Department to get the stores and the distribution centre in Marsden Park in Sydney open as soon as possible.

“The ability to ship from store has provided us with a back-up plan. The team was worked very hard all weekend to make sure that we will continue to have customer deliveries.

“We dispatch from store, and [due to the Electrolux Khapra Beetle issue] our distribution centre in Sydney is shut, so we can pivot to dispatching bulky goods from stores – it is more efficient to do it from a centralised warehouse, but we are a diverse retailer with a range of solutions to maximise the outcome. Other than a small amount of deliveries that come from an online warehouse in Melbourne, the vast majority of online purchases under 20kg come from our store network and we have then chosen Toll depots near these stores and we work very hard to achieve those fulfilment times.”

The Australian Government took action after the discovery of the beetle by a member of the public who purchased one of the Westinghouse refrigerators infested with the Khapra Beetle.

The Australian Government stepped in to close the Electrolux warehouse at Casula in Sydney where the container of 45 refrigerators were unpacked after travelling from the company’s factory at Rayong in Thailand.

Winning Appliances has also been contacted for an update on the closure of its distribution centre but is yet to make any further comment.

The Department of Agriculture has estimated that the Khapra Beetle could cause up to $15.5 billion in damage to the Australian rural industry by wiping out large swathes of the grains industry and also affecting trade with export partners.

The Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma Granarium) is one of the world’s most serious pests of stored grain products. It measures 1.5-3.5mm long and 1.1-2mm wide and are small, oval-shaped and densely hairy, reddish-brown beetles. It is regarded as one of the most resilient pests of its kind and is able to survive inactively for long periods of time within stored food, packaging and transport facilities.

The global spread of Khapra Beetle is increasing and it is being detected on a wide range of plant products and as a hitchhiker pest on containers, from places where the beetle is not known to occur. Khapra Beetle is a significant threat to Australian plant industries, including the grain export industry and it is particularly effective in hot and dry conditions, like those in the Australian grain belt. Following recent rain, Australia is forecast to have one of the largest grain harvests in many years. Khapra Beetle destroys grain quality making it unfit for human or animal consumption. Stored products also become contaminated with beetles, cast skins and hairs from larvae, which can be a human health risk.