National Farmers' Federation

New biosecurity advisory group to provide industry voice to government

Today the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, announced she has established a new biosecurity advisory group, Biosecurity Futures, to provide government with industry intelligence, advice and ideas on biosecurity matters.
The group will be chaired by the Minister and include representatives from industries and sectors with a strong interest in biosecurity, including agriculture.
National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar said he was looking forward to working with the group, which is expected to hold its first meeting before Christmas.
“Australia’s biosecurity system is absolutely fundamental to the success of our agriculture industries, to the health of our natural environment and to our society and economy at large.
“We welcome the Minister’s decision to set up this new advisory group, which will allow industry to contribute constructively to biosecurity policy discussions at a high level.”
Mr Mahar said ensuring Australia’s biosecurity system is adequately resourced and operating efficiently is critical and should be a number one priority for government.
“We’re operating in an increasingly global environment – the volume of goods and people moving in and out of the country continues to grow, and so too does the biosecurity task.
“In May this year the Inspector General of Biosecurity said that Australia’s border biosecurity system had been stretched close to breaking point with the effort required to keep the brown marmorated stink bug out.
“This is alarming, particularly at a time when other highly damaging pests and diseases not yet present in Australia, such as African swine fever and Xyllella fastidiosa, continue to spread around the globe,” said Mr Mahar.
“A single biosecurity incursion has the potential to bring one or more of our farming industries to its knees, and to cause untold damage to our unique natural environment.
“Resourcing the system that keeps these unwanted pests out is too important to compromise.
“We need increased and sustainable funding to support a strong biosecurity system – be that through an imports levy or another mechanism.”
Minister McKenzie’s announcement was part of an address to the National Biosecurity Forum, where she also signed on to the National Biosecurity Statement.
The statement was developed by industry, environment groups and government to articulate a vision for the biosecurity system and demonstrate the principle of shared responsibility.
NFF was involved in drafting the statement and welcomed the Minister’s public endorsement of the statement as well as the endorsement by many other participants at the National Biosecurity Forum today. The statement is available on the Department of Agriculture website.

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