Our history

21 years of improving plant biosecurity outcomes

2021 is the 21st anniversary of PHA’s formation.

This timeline remembers the Chairs and CEOs of the company, and tracks its growth as a company via an increasing number of industries that became members and joined the partnership, and signatories to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed.

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Warren Truss signed the EPPRD on behalf of the Australian Government on 26 May 2005. The first EPPRD signatory was Darral Ashton on behalf of Apple and Pear Australia Limited on 28 October 2004. Greg Fraser and Tony Gregson at the launch of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy in May 2011. The company strategies for 2011–16 and 2016–21 aligned with the goals and recommendations of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy.
Member meetings – including EPPRD signatory meetings, industry forums and member forums – are an important way in which the company brings government and industry members together to discuss aspects of the biosecurity system. Meetings can also bring together the PHA and AHA Boards or industry members to discuss topics common to the stakeholders of each company. By June 2020, the company had grown to employ 35 staff, most of whom were located in the Canberra office, but others were in WA, SA and Queensland.

Background

Plant Health Australia (PHA) was formed in recognition that, in global terms, Australia is fortunate to experience a relative freedom from pests, weeds and diseases that can affect plant industries. We have been able to build a valuable reputation as a reliable and efficient supplier of quality plant products that are clean and free from diseases, pests and weeds.

With the majority of plant industries having or developing a significant export component to their business, the need for Australia to enhance its plant health status and plant health arrangements has become increasingly important.

The 1996 Nairn Review of Quarantine introduced the idea of a national coordinating body to deal with plant health, after finding there was generally a greater emphasis on animal health issues. The review proposed the formation of a coordinating body to identify and address national priorities in plant health.

In early 1998, the Plant Industries Incursion Management Consultative Committee (PIIMCC) representing industry, and the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM) (which became the Primary Industries Standing Committee; now known as Agriculture Senior Officials Committee) representing government, began working to develop the concept and structure for a central coordinating body to address plant health issues.

A joint industry-government workshop in late 1998 recommended the creation of an industry-government company limited by guarantee under Corporations Law. PIIMCC and SCARM formed the Australian Plant Health Council Steering Committee to progress formation of such a company. An intensive period of consultation, followed by an industry-government workshop held in 1999, led to the registration of Plant Health Australia in April 2000.

The company is currently addressing priority plant health issues, building a genuine partnership approach between industry and government and ensuring members can be involved in, and can contribute to, policy making and direction setting on major plant health issues.

Company activities are funded from annual subscriptions paid by members. PHA members include the Australian Government, all state and territory governments and national representative plant industry organisations. PHA is a non-profit public company limited by guarantee.