Report details the workings of Australia’s plant biosecurity system

July 17, 2015

The latest version of the National Plant Biosecurity Status Report was released this week by Plant Health Australia, detailing the pests of concern to plant industries and the environment, as well as the entire system that works to combat them.

This 7th edition of the report provides a snapshot for 2014. It lists the exotic pests that Australia needs to guard against, responses to exotic pest incursions that are underway, and the measures taken to confine pests to particular regions.

It highlights all aspects of the plant biosecurity system including the pest surveillance that is carried out across the country to allow fast detection of any pest that might make it through border controls, and over 550 Australian plant pest research projects that were carried out during the year to learn more about controlling pests.

Launching the publication, PHA Chairman Dr Tony Gregson, said that the report reveals the complexity of the plant biosecurity system and how crucial collaboration is in making it work.

“With a total coastline stretching almost 60,000 km, and regionalised pests within Australia, no single organisation could effectively guard against all plant pest threats,” Dr Gregson said.

“The system works through collaboration between the Australian Government, state and territory governments, plant industries and their growers, researchers, Plant Health Australia, Indigenous rangers in the far north and the wider community. In fact, everyone has a role to play in preventing the spread of new pests,” Dr Gregson added.

The banana freckle eradication response in the NT is a feature of this year’s report, along with an account of the importance of skilled diagnosticians who can distinguish between a serious exotic pest and common established species, and work by the Plant Biosecurity CRC on how pests can spread sometimes vast distances by water and wind currents.

Dr Gregson said that it was reassuring to have a comprehensive system in place to protect our natural environment and plant industries.

“We can’t predict where the next biosecurity challenge will come from, so it’s good to know that Australia has a strong system ready to respond,” he said.

View or download the National Plant Biosecurity Status Report 2014.