July 20, 2016
The sweet potato, truffle and blueberry industries are the latest members of Plant Health Australia (PHA), the coordinators of the plant biosecurity partnership in Australia, it was announced this week.
With the three new peak bodies signing up, PHA now has 38 industries in addition to all Australian governments as members of the not-for-profit organisation.
Executive Director and CEO of PHA, Greg Fraser, welcomed the new industries, saying that it was pleasing to see so much of Australia’s plant production now covered by PHA.
“The more industries that are involved, the better for everyone,” Mr Fraser said.
“It means that we have nearly all of the major players in the tent, which bolsters the coordination of plant biosecurity in Australia.
“A biosecurity system can only be effective if everyone is pulling in the same direction, which is where PHA comes in. We assist governments and industries to agree pest priorities and to work collaboratively to protect against them,” Mr Fraser added.
Joining PHA allows industry bodies to sign up to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), Australia’s agreement on how exotic pest incursions affecting crops and honey bees are responded to, and how the costs of a response are shared.
“Signing up to the EPPRD provides a good deal of certainty for all signatories, both industry bodies and governments,” Mr Fraser said.
“PHA will be working with the new members to help them to join so that they receive the same guarantees and have the same risk reduction obligations as the existing signatory parties.”
John Maltby, Secretary of Australian Sweet Potato Growers, said that joining PHA is an important step for the long term sustainability of the industry.
“Australian Sweet Potato Growers takes biosecurity seriously,” he said.
“There are many exotic pest threats overseas, each of which makes production of sweet potatoes more difficult. We don’t want our producers to have to deal with them so we look forward to working closely with PHA.”