NSW Farmers is calling on the Commonwealth and NSW governments to support greater investment in biosecurity both at home and overseas to minimise the threat posed by exotic pests and diseases.
Australia is a world leader when it comes to biosecurity, but increased investment at our borders, past our borders, and on our farms is needed to keep complacency, and disease, at bay.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson says investing early in biosecurity will save a lot of money and heartache down the road.
“Farmers know how devastating pest and disease outbreaks are. Once a disease enters an animal population or a crop, it can have devastating consequences for farmers, regional communities and local food production,” Mr Jackson says.
“We have seen it time and time again. Right now, we are seeing it in the human population with the way the coronavirus is threatening lives and livelihoods.”
“It might represent a small fiscal spend now, but investing in biosecurity is an extremely prudent move. The recent abandonment of the Onshore Biosecurity Levy is disappointing, and represents a step back in the development of a long-term biosecurity funding model.”
Mr Jackson says that investing in a pest and disease-free future for Australia also means building biosecurity capacity overseas.
“Australia depends on stringent biosecurity to underpin the profitability of the agricultural sectors. It’s critical for maintaining our clean and green image. There are many biosecurity threats lurking in other countries, and sometimes in closely neighbouring countries.”
“Fighting disease is a global effort, and funding and investment needs to recognise that. We need to be able to manage biosecurity risk off-shore so as to eradicate the risk or reduce the chance of it entering Australia.”
“We can do this by auditing our trading partners’ biosecurity practices and ensuring they are equivalent to ours. We can also build biosecurity awareness in our trading partners and neighbours so that they can incorporate best practice in their own systems.”