Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Biosecurity
5 BIOSECURITY GROUND COVER THREATS & BEST BETS No matter how strict Australia's quarantine measures, the risk of pest and disease entry can never be completely eliminated. For this reason a strong post-border biosecurity system is needed to ensure that pests and diseases that do penetrate the border do not become established, are detected rapidly and where possible eradicated. Achieving this goal is not as easy as it sounds. Many of the most serious exotic pests of grain crops, if not detected soon after arrival, will spread too quickly for eradication to be an option. Early detection and early response are the key, but this requires everyone to be on the lookout for pests and diseases and doing what they can to minimise their establishment and spread. Being directly on the front line, this is where growers have an important role to play. To minimise exotic pest and disease threats, there are several relatively simple, low-cost measures that growers can adopt. In the main, these correspond to good farming practices for managing any sort of pest risk. Given the potential harm an incursion could cause on-farm and to the broader grains industry, better biosecurity invariably makes good business sense. For all growers, there is support at hand. The Grains Farm Biosecurity Program was established in 2007 to: nelevate awareness and adoption of biosecurity practices; nhighlight the key pest threats being faced by the grains industry; nboost emergency response capability; and nprovide expert assistance and training in farm biosecurity to grains industry stakeholders. Many of these tasks are handled by dedicated Grains Biosecurity Officers (GBO) based in each state (see page 7). Biosecurity is also being addressed through the national research program for the grains industry. Biosecurity fits within the Safeguarding Australia national research priority, which is one of four priorities set by the Australian Government. These priorities guide government investment in research and shape funding priorities and the types of projects supported. The GRDC is a major investor in biosecurity research, development and extension on behalf of government and industry not only through the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity but through breeding activities, crop protection, agronomy, grain storage and market access activities. To strengthen plant biosecurity research capacity and capability PHA is coordinating development of a national research, development and extension (RD&E) strategy. It will form one of 21 such strategies making up a national RD&E framework. PHA is ideally placed to take on this role. Set up as the lead national coordinating body for plant biosecurity, PHA operates to maintain strength in the government and industry partnership and to deliver a range of services to improve policy, practice and performance of Australia's plant biosecurity system and build capacity to respond to plant pest emergencies. Even with growers and others along the supply chain lifting biosecurity standards, there is always the risk of exotic pest and disease outbreaks (incursions) occurring and preparedness is therefore critical. To coordinate risk-mitigation efforts and improve response readiness, the grains industry, through PHA, has developed an Industry Biosecurity Plan. It consolidates existing information about pest threats, risk mitigation activities, contingency plans, and response funding and management procedures. Guidance is also provided on areas requiring action in the future, which include research priorities. The plan is regularly reviewed and updated, most recently in February 2009. Central to the need for shared responsibility for biosecurity is the set of arrangements in place for handling responses to exotic plant pest incursions. The grains industry, through Grain Producers Australia, is a party to these arrangements as a signatory to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. The deed is a formal, legally binding agreement between PHA, the Australian Government, all state and territory governments and national plant industry peak bodies. It covers the shared management and funding of eradication response to emergency plant pest incidents by governments and industries, including the potential for affected growers to receive reimbursement for losses. Underpinning the deed is PLANTPLAN, the agreed technical plan that guides responses to emergency plant pest incidents. The grains industry is assisted in its response preparedness activities by PHA, including through contingency planning, development of surveillance systems and diagnostic standards, delivery of response training and simulation exercises and technical support during emergency incidents. The principle of government and industry sharing responsibility for biosecurity was reinforced with release of the independent review of Australia's quarantine and biosecurity arrangements (the Beale Review) in 2008. Although the Beale Review found that Australia has a biosecurity system envied around the world, it also identified deficiencies. Addressing these deficiencies is the focus of a raft of reforms to the system being rolled out by governments. Eventually these will see new biosecurity legislation replacing the Quarantine Act 1908, a move from mandatory inspection targets at the border to risk-based inspection regimes, integrated biosecurity activities across the continuum, new organisational structures and better cooperation between different levels of government, industries and the broader community. □ More information: Kyle Thoms, general manager -- corporate strategy & communication, Plant Health Australia, 02 6215 7700, firstname.lastname@example.org THE TERM BIOSECURITY ENCOMPASSES PLANT PROTECTION, FARM HYGIENE AND QUARANTINE.
GC Supplement - Capacity building
GC Supplement - Grain storage