Sources: Sara Everingham, ABC - December 18, 2008
An independent report has called for a major overhaul of Australia's quarantine and biosecurity measures.
On 19 February 2008, the Government commissioned the former head of the Environment Department, Roger Beale to undertake a wide-ranging review of Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements.
The review was in reponse to the problems highlighted during the equine influenza outbreak in 2007.
Today he handed down his report (18 page summary, pdf 165k)
Australia depends on trade and this carries unavoidable risks. Managing these risks is becoming more challenging with the increased movement of goods and people across borders.
Climate change increases the risk of pests and diseases and urbanisation of rural regions and the intensification of agriculture also increase the challenge of containing a pest or disease.
Australia needs a biosecurity system that allows us to trade and to welcome more visitors while at the same time protecting the integrity of our environment, our favourable pest and disease status and the productivity of our primary producers.
Appropriately, the report proposes significant reforms to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system and to improve governance arrangements, transparency and timeliness.
The reports major recommendation will bring together the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and Biosecurity Australia and parts of DAFF.
This is not more bureaucracy, it is about getting rid of some of the border issues between the Commonwealth and the States so you genuinely have one biosecurity.
The report says the recommendations will help restore integrity and confidence in Australia's biosecurity and quarantine measures.