Australia has a world class biosecurity system, but as long as international trade and people movement occurs, there will always be the risk that new plant pests will enter the country. Pests can also be spread to Australia through natural means, such as wind and water currents. Comprehensive biosecurity systems help ensure Australia’s food security and food safety, while good biosecurity practices protect our farmers’ productivity and make good business sense.
Overview of the plant biosecurity system
Australia’s biosecurity system is a collaborative effort between federal and state governments and industry. It is a continual process involving activities offshore, at the border and onshore. Plant Health Australia plays a key role in the process.
Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed
PHA is the custodian of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed which is a legally binding agreement between PHA, the Australian Government, all state and territory governments and national plant industry body signatories.
This plan details the procedures required and the organisations responsible in the event of an incursion of an emergency plant pest.
How to report an emergency plant pest
Any unusual plant pest should be reported immediately to the relevant state/territory agriculture agency through the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881).
Emergency plant pests can be categorised into one of four categories. These categories are a measure of the public versus private benefit of eradicating them. The categories also reflect the relative cost sharing of affected industry and governments in the event of an incursion.
Owner reimbursement costs
Owner reimbursement costs (ORCs) are payments made to affected parties following an incursion. They aim to reimburse owners for the cost of eradication, loss of income or the value of destroyed crops.
This section outlines the key steps to take to manage an incursion, who is involved and their responsibilities.
Many pre-emptive practices can be adopted to reduce the risk of exotic pest movement for your industry. Such risk mitigation practices are the responsibility of governments, industry and the community.
Implementing industry biosecurity plans
There are a number of practical steps that you can take to implement your industry biosecurity plan.