Biosecurity strategy consultation open


NSW Farmers has welcomed the timely proposal for Australia’s first national biosecurity strategy, announced by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

During November the federal government is letting Australians have their say on biosecurity in the first phase of consultation on the national strategy.

NSW Farmers Biosecurity Committee Chair Ian McColl said the strategy was long overdue given its critical importance to the nation and multi-billion-dollar industries such as agriculture.

“After COVID-19, no one can be naïve to the widespread pain caused by disease outbreaks,” Mr McColl said.

“There are several threats we’re wary of, from African swine fever, to Khapra beetle that would seriously impact graingrowers, and Xylella that would devastate our wine industry; and while we are pleased to see the development of a biosecurity strategy, Australia needs a sustainable funding model for border biosecurity long-term.

“Some of Australia’s most valuable industries, including agriculture, will be at risk if we don’t adapt and remodel our biosecurity system to meet emergent threats.” 

A pest or disease outbreak could cause significant harm to livestock and native animals, the environment and the economy. Mr McColl said it would be fatal to the state’s goal of $30 billion in farmgate value by 2030, an ambitious aspiration which stands to bolster the state’s recovery from COVID-19.

It is hoped the national strategic plan will lead to meaningful change, he said, lest we endanger the global trade access and high premiums Australian agriculture currently enjoys.

“Being an island, Australia has a natural advantage when it comes to biosecurity and a competitive advantage in international trade. But in a highly globalised world characterised by trade and travel, we can’t afford to become complacent,” Mr McColl said.

“Our chief science agency has warned factors such as globalisation and climate change are shaping a new era for contagious animal diseases, and that the status quo isn’t good enough to protect our agricultural industries and livelihoods.

“Biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and everyone from individual farmers to the state and federal governments play a part, so we should make the most of this consultation to have our say on what a national biosecurity strategy should look like.”

The strategy is being developed by the federal, state and territory governments through the National Biosecurity Committee. Consultation closes on November 26 and a draft strategy is expected to be released in early 2022. 

Date: Monday, November 15, 2021
Media Contact: Stephen Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | mudds@nswfarmers.org.au