AUSVEG, Australia’s peak industry body for vegetable and potato growers, has welcomed the announcement from Federal Agriculture Minister Senator Murray Watt of Australia’s first National Biosecurity Strategy.
The strategy, which comes after a National Biosecurity Statement was agreed to in 2018, has been agreed to by federal, state and territory ministers and will help ensure that governments and industry work together to protect Australia from the threat of harmful pests and diseases.
AUSVEG CEO Michael Coote says that industry has been calling for a long-term, ongoing support for the nation’s biosecurity system, with recent biosecurity threats and incursions proof that biosecurity is too important to be left to chance.
“As we have seen recently, ensuring Australia has a strong and well-resourced biosecurity system is vital for Australia’s agriculture industry and important for the health and safety of every Australian,” said Mr Coote.
“While we have natural advantages due to our geographical location, we cannot afford to be complacent. Recent biosecurity outbreaks in this country, including Fall armyworm, Serpentine leafminer and Varroa Mite, as well as the ominous threat of Foot and Mouth Disease just over our border, have shown the tremendous economic and emotional toll that incursions and the threat of incursions have on an industry and its members.
“The announcement of a National Biosecurity Strategy that has been agreed to by Federal, State and Territory Ministers is welcome recognition of the ever-growing threat from foreign pests and diseases.
“AUSVEG has been a vocal supporter of a coordinated, long-term, ongoing funding model that ensures the nation’s biosecurity system is well-resourced and effective. We note that more detail is needed on the funding model to enact this strategy and we are keen to work with the government to ensure that industry’s needs are met through the new strategy.
“Our biosecurity system needs ongoing resources that are dedicated to keeping our borders safe from harmful and dangerous pests and diseases.
“The agriculture industry is working towards a target of $100 billion in value in 2030 and requires a robust and effective biosecurity system to protect crops and communities for harmful pests and diseases.”
AUSVEG is the national peak industry body for Australia’s vegetable and potato growers. AUSVEG represents over 3,500 vegetable producers that account for 3.83 million tonnes of vegetable production worth $4.9 billion in farmgate value and over $5 billion in retail value annually – it is one of strongest performers of Australia’s agriculture industry.