Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie has established a new group, Biosecurity Futures, to provide industry intelligence, advice and ideas on biosecurity matters directly to government.
“Maintaining Australia’s strong biosecurity protections is everyone’s responsibility and something government and industry work together to achieve each and every day,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Our biosecurity system underpins our international reputation as an exporter of safe, quality and sustainable food and fibre. Our global customers seek Australian products because we don’t have the destructive pests and diseases found in other parts of the world that can have such an impact on yield and nutrition.
“While our farmers, fishers and foresters are major beneficiaries of our strong biosecurity system, our environment and the health and lifestyle of every Australian also relies on the system. Imports pose the risk, whether that’s large consignments arriving on cargo ships, parcels of online shopping, or mums and dads flying back to Australia after an overseas holiday.
“Close cooperation between government and industry is essential if we’re to stay a step ahead of global threats like African swine fever—a disease that could wipe out our pig industry and the 36,000 jobs the industry supports.
“It’s important that the actions of government and industry are complementary and that we learn from one another so we can leverage efficiencies and avoid unintended consequences of regulation.
“This group was one of the eight recommendations put forward to me by the Biosecurity Imports Levy Industry Steering Committee in June this year.”
The Biosecurity Futures group will be chaired by the Minister and meet twice a year, or as needed, to discuss biosecurity concerns, the impact of biosecurity measures on various industries—not just agriculture—and ways to improve the biosecurity system.
The eight initial members who have agreed to participate are:
• Paul Zalai, Freight and Trade Alliance
• Margo Andrae, Australian Pork Limited
• Stephen Annells, Fertilizer Australia
• Carolyn McGill, Food and Beverage Importers Association
• Jane Lovell, Seafood Industry Australia
• Tania Constable, Mineral Council of Australia
• Tony Mahar, National Farmers’ Federation
• Margy Osmond, Tourism and Transport Forum.
For more information about Biosecurity Futures visit the department’s website.