National surveillance system for weeds and plant pests

March 11, 2015

In early 2014 PHA embarked on a 2-year project to develop a mechanism to gather, harness and collate surveillance information on plant pests and weeds – a virtual coordination centre – with funding from a National Landcare Programme Innovation Grant.

Recently, PHA’s Program Manager for National Strategies and Policy Coordination, Nick Woods, provided a briefing for staff of the Department of Agriculture, including the First Assistant Secretary for Sustainability and Biosecurity Policy, Ian Thompson, on the development of the proof-of-concept phase of the project.

Ultimately, the system will be capable of receiving and integrating data from multiple surveillance systems, and delivering integrated surveillance data to those working in weed and pest management in Australia.

The coordination centre is designed to enable community groups, regional bodies, agricultural industries and jurisdictions to contribute to and access real time surveillance information on weeds and plant pests. The intention is to:

  • identify and link existing surveillance databases and systems
  • promote the development of new field surveillance tools
  • develop an integrated, accessible and seamless national surveillance system
  • create knowledge on a national basis
  • receive, process and return information to stakeholders.

The first release of the reporting system will include national surveillance data on a pathogen, an insect and two weeds. They are myrtle rust, fruit flies, parthenium and orange hawkweed. The system will be able to integrate data fields from a variety of sources and will potentially use new and novel software applications to achieve its goals.

The development of the first phase will also enable us to understand the applicability and potential of the solution for other sectors.

More information about the project is available from