Biosecurity shock: are we ready?

The recent National Biosecurity Forum has highlighted the need for the Australian wine industry to continually assess and strengthen its resilience to a biosecurity shock.

Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Pearce attended the National Biosecurity Forum in Canberra in early November. This event, run jointly by the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, is an opportunity to discuss biosecurity challenges, achievements and future directions directly with government and a range of industry and community representatives.

“The updates on national biosecurity activities were useful and good discussions were had. But the presentations from representatives of the banana, oyster and nursery and garden industries about their experiences and learnings from recent devastating incursions in their sectors provided the most powerful insights into areas for improvement across the national biosecurity system,” Inca said.

“These presentations challenged us to consider the implications for our own industries. They certainly encouraged me to continue challenging our industry’s resilience to a biosecurity shock.”

About 100 participants were invited to participate in the National Biosecurity Forum, including government departments and peak industry bodies for plant and animal industries.

The National Biosecurity Forum was the culmination of the 2017 Roundtable Program, which involved roundtables in each state and territory. The day included interactive sessions focused on:

  • Refining a National Biosecurity Statement that seeks to affirm the commitment of parties to ensuring an effective national biosecurity system.
  • The formation of an Industry Advisory Group for the National Biosecurity Committee.
  • A review of surveillance and responses to incursions.
  • Industry’s role in biosecurity.

Vinehealth Australia continues to focus on the key areas of education and awareness, risk assessments, outbreak management plans and emergency response capability.

Note: The NBC provides advice to Agriculture Committees and the Agriculture Minister Forum on national biosecurity matters and is responsible for managing a national, strategic approach to biosecurity threats relating to plant and animal pests and diseases, marine pests and aquatics, and the impact of these on agricultural production, the environment, community wellbeing and social amenity.