Australia's first National Plant Biosecurity Strategy has just been released by Plant Health Australia.
The Strategy looks at the challenges Australia must overcome in the next 10 years and what steps will need to be taken to better protect Australians from the negative impacts of plant pests and maintain our reliable supply high quality food.
The Strategy is the result of more than three year's work by Plant Health Australia who coordinated its preparation and reflects the inputs of hundreds of expert stakeholders.
The importance of Australia's plant biosecurity system and the many pressures it faces was recognized by the 2008 Beale Review.
Since then, the Australian Government has been progressively implementing a range of high level reforms including the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy.
"Biosecurity is very much on the radar right now given the increased public and media interest in the issue of global food security and some high profile incursions we have seen here in Australia,"said Chairman of Plant Health Australia, Dr Tony Gregson AM.
Dr Tony Gregson AM, Plant Health Australia Chairman,
While our geography provides many natural advantages in keeping threats at bay we cannot afford to drop our guard. There is just too much at stake.
Production from Australia's plant and forestry industries alone are worth $25 billion annually, and we have a priceless environment to protect. With 60,000 km of coastline and hundreds of serious exotic plant pests, it is no small task.
Among the many challenges, there is the increasing rapid movement of people and produce across State and national borders. More than 1.8 million containers of cargo and 150 million mail items arrive in Australia each year.
Even with a world standard border biosecurity system their remains a risk that exotic plant pests will breach our natural and man-made defenses with catastrophic consequences.
"The National Plant Biosecurity Strategy is not the only vehicle for delivering essential reforms but it will play a vital part. I call on everyone who took part in the Strategy's development, and those with an interest in plant biosecurity, to get behind it," said Dr Gregson.
Source: Plant Health Australia - 24 May 2011
See Also: National Plant Biosecurity Strategy 2011 - Full (pdf 2738 kb)