Victorians provide insights into improving biosecurity

New insights into Victoria’s biosecurity will help shape and strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity system.

Agriculture Victoria has released reports to the public on findings from the Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System survey and interviews.

Biosecurity Services Executive Director Katherine Clift said the survey and interviews were a great way to get an understanding of Victorians’ insights into biosecurity and how we can make improvements.

There were more than 1400 responses to the online survey and 114 one-on-one interviews, which sought to gather insights on knowledge and perceptions of biosecurity, and what factors influence people’s decision making when it comes to biosecurity issues.

The results showed the shared responsibility existing in our biosecurity system, with the important role community and industry are already playing. Opportunities for improvement included strengthening relationships to collectively manage biosecurity risks and preparedness and use of citizen science.

“Biosecurity is integral to the way we live – on farms, in backyards, in business, at home and out and about,” Dr Clift said. “Biosecurity is fundamental to the health, wellbeing and prosperity of all Victorians.

“We all need to play our part in managing and mitigating the impact of pests and diseases in our agriculture and environment.”

Exotic pests and diseases can threaten the state’s agricultural sector, environment, cultural, horticulture and animal industries and potentially harm human health. Strong and healthy biosecurity system also benefits and protects other areas of the economy and environment including tourism, recreation, forestry, marine and water supply sectors.

This work will build on Victoria’s strong biosecurity track record. Only last year, Victoria successfully responded to and eradicated high pathogenic avian influenza from domestic poultry as part of the largest ever outbreak on record for Australia in 2020. Currently, Agriculture Victoria and the Victorian Fisheries Authority are diligently responding to an outbreak of abalone viral ganglioneuritis in the state’s south-west with the support of industry.

Agriculture Victoria will use these insights to inform future engagement including workshops with key stakeholders. Agriculture Victoria will then reflect on this feedback and take the time to determine the best path going forward, and what actions should government take to address community concerns.

“I look forward to scoping out the next steps of how we can shape and strengthen our biosecurity system in Victoria, ensuring our agricultural prosperity, animal welfare, food supply and environment,” Dr Clift said.

The survey and interview are part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity system.

This work also aligns with the recently released Strategy for Agriculture in Victoria to protect and enhance the future of agriculture by ensuring it’s well placed to respond to climate change, pests, weeds, disease and increased resource scarcity.

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