National Farmers' Federation

Investment to guard against pests & diseases; protect markets welcomed

“World-class, impenetrable biosecurity systems go to the heart of the prosperity of Australian agriculture,” NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said.
“As an export-dominated industry we need to do all we can to prevent potentially-disastrous incursions of pests and diseases comprising our food and fibre and in turn our valuable global markets.”
Mr Mahar said the Government’s plans to invest more than $25 million in a Biosecurity Innovation Program was a great step in the right direction.
“We have the opportunity to harness new ‘smart’ technologies that will allow us to get ahead of the game.
“Underwater drones to check the underside of ships for pests; ex-ray guns to quickly scan baggage; and electronic seniors to check sea containers, will allow us to identify threats before they become a problem.”
The Government will also fund a team of biosecurity intelligence analysts to monitor the spread of international pests and diseases and an Indigenous Biosecurity Rangers program, which will transverse the 10,000 kilometres of our northern coastline.
“It is prudent to complement new technologies with people power on the ground,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF also welcomed $35 million in emergency funding to counter a biosecurity outbreak.
Mr Mahar said the NFF had continued to advocate for bolstered funding for biosecurity.
“The importance of protecting of our food and fibre from new pests and diseases cannot be underestimated.
“The consequence of an incursion could be as dire as a complete shut-out from our most valued markets and the complete loss of a crop or production system from our farming landscape.
“Australia’s farm produce is renowned across the world for its clean, green, safe attributes.
“These properties provide us access to many markets, some, of which other nations are denied.”
“We will continue to call on the Government to prioritise investment in biosecurity.
“Today’s announcement is good step forward. However, biosecurity is critical to the future of our goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion industry by 2030, so we must build on this commitment to establish a more coordinated and collaborative long term approach to biosecurity from all governments and industry – there is always room for improvement.”

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