The investment will strengthen Australia’s ability to keep out exotic pests and diseases and improve our ability to fight pest incursions.
The announcement highlights the government’s planned approach for managing imports, backing new technology for diagnostics and delivering more resources on the ground, which will undoubtedly benefit Australia’s greenlife production and growing media manufacturing.
“As a nation we have now identified a clear direction to improve the biosecurity and quarantine processes for primary industry businesses which has real implications for productivity and Australia’s food, fibre and foliage security,” said Greenlife Industry Australia CEO, Peter Vaughan.
“We commend the government on the robust and comprehensive plan, which promises to benefit the greenlife industry, which is currently valued at around $2.6 billion, and the horticulture industries which are reliant on clean starter nursery stock.”
Today’s announcement specifically addresses the concerns of both growers and manufacturers, particularly through:
$1.5 million to review current systems and bust congestion for importers
$25.5 million for modern technologies to improve the speed and accuracy of pest and disease identification at the border, and
$3.2 million, already announced, to trial new industry arrangements that aim to reduce red tape and biosecurity regulatory costs for importers and agricultural businesses.
Mr Vaughan also commended the government on its engagement with the industry throughout the development of the biosecurity plan.
“GIA has represented industry concerns, particularly on issues such as tissue culture and nursey stock importation, cut flower importation risk, onshore biosecurity container levy and post entry quarantine activities and the impacts of the regulations on the productivity of Australia’s greenlife industry,” he said.
“It’s pleasing to see these issues acknowledged by the Department of Agriculture”.
Through its National Biosecurity Program, led by John McDonald, GIA is working closely with the Department of Agriculture on nursery stock importation including detailed discussions on co-regulatory programs to allow for third party programs to operate in this space.
GIA anticipates this will lead to a certification program allowing certain businesses to undertake elements of the biosecurity and quarantine processes, taking pressure off government departments, and allowing appropriate handling of nursery stock increasing imported plant survival.
An indirect outcome of this representation is confirmation from the Department that pilot projects will be conducted with highly competent and large volume importers. It is hoped that expressions of interest will be called from importers to conduct trials early in the next financial year.
Read the full media release from Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP here.