National Farmers' Federation

Quarantine and Biosecurity: NFF to Lead Industry and Govt Talks

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) will facilitate a meeting among industry and government representatives on 14 July 2006 in Canberra to examine Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements, NFF CEO Ben Fargher announced today.
“Farmers support Australia’s science-based quarantine system,” Mr Fargher said. “However, among some sectors, concerns emerging from a lack of confidence in the system have festered – and communication between authorities and farmers ‘on the ground’ has broken down.
“These issues must be addressed if we are to ensure everyone with a key stake in sound quarantine practice is acting with one accord. The NFF, as the peak farm body in Australia, believes we have a leadership role to play in bringing all the participants together to resolve any outstanding issues.
“The NFF believes communication and responsiveness between Biosecurity Australia and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and their stakeholders can, and should, be improved. We intend to canvass options for bolstering policies and processes to achieve improved information flow at the 14 July meeting.
“It should be noted that the NFF is not calling for a public review of Australia’s science-based quarantine system. Rather, we continue to bring the industry together to talk with government in order to understand all stakeholders’ perspectives and rebuild confidence in the system.
“Confidence, both domestically and among our international trading partners, in a world leading, science-based and transparent quarantine system, must be our ultimate goal.
“As an island nation, all Australians would appreciate the absolute need for a quarantine system that maintains our favourable pest- and disease-free status. Therefore, we must be vigilant in ensuring that status, and the checks and balances that support it, remain second to none in terms of risk management.
“By basing our quarantine arrangements on science, we can maintain our clean status under international rules, and have every right to expect other countries we trade with to abide by the same scientific assessment. Therefore, we can ensure our trade meets the highest standards.”
The Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, The Hon Peter McGauran MP, will attend the meeting.

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