Our History

PHA was established in 2000 as a Member-based organisation with the long-term goal of developing and maintaining an internationally outstanding plant health management system.

The introduction of the Plant Health Australia (Plant Industries) Funding Act 2002 gave plant industry Members a levy mechanism to meet their annual membership fees. In 2005, the world-first Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) was ratified providing an effective and transparent means to manage and reduce the cost of emergency plant pest responses.

This was closely followed by PLANTPLAN, the first nationally consistent emergency response plan for emergency plant pests. 

A history of achievement

Australia has built a valuable reputation as a reliable and efficient supplier of quality plant products that are clean and free from pests and diseases. Find out more about PHA’s story by exploring the timeline below:

  • 1996

    The Nairn Review of Quarantine introduces the idea of a national coordinating body for plant health similar to the existing system for native animal health.

    Read the Nairn Review
  • Early 1998

    The Plant Industries Incursion Management Consultative Committee (PIIMCC), and the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM – now known as Agriculture Senior Officials Committee), begins work to develop a central coordinating body to address plant health issues.

  • Late 1998

    A joint industry-government workshop recommends the creation of an industry-government company limited by guarantee under Corporations Law.

    PIIMCC and SCARM form the Australian Plant Health Council Steering Committee to progress the company.

  • 2000

    Following intensive consultation and an industry-government workshop in 1999, PHA is founded with 23 Members supported by six staff.

    Our inaugural Chair is Andrew Inglis (2000-07) and our first CEO is Neil Fisher (2000-05). PHA’s operating income is $1.6 million.

  • 2001

    Our first website is launched.

  • 2002

    APPD is launched with 46,000 pest records and the Plant Health Australia (Plant Industries) Funding Act is introduced.

  • 2005

    PHA grows to 45 Members, supported by 18 staff and led by CEO Lindy Hyam (2005-08).

    The EPPRD is signed by all government parties with the former Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss signing the EPPRD on behalf of the Australian Government on 26 May 2005. The first EPPRD signatory, Darral Ashton on behalf of Apple and Pear Australia Limited, signs the Deed on 28 October 2004.

    In 2005, the EPPRD secures 34 signatories and provides a recognised role for industry parties to participate in plant emergency responses and assume a greater responsibility in decision-making.

  • 2008

    The Farm Biosecurity Program is launched in collaboration with Animal Health Australia (AHA) to fulfil the requirements in the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement.

    Visit the Farm Biosecurity website
  • 2010

    PHA has 49 Members and 37 EPPRD signatories.

    Board Chair Tony Gregson (2007-2015) and CEO Greg Fraser (2008-20) lead a team of 28 staff.

  • 2011

    In May 2011 the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy (NPBS) is launched.

    PHA aligns company strategies for 2011–16 and 2016–21 with the goals and recommendations of the NPBS. 

  • 2015

    Darral Ashton joins the PHA Board as Chair (2015-17), which has 53 Members and 43 EPPRD signatories, serviced by a team of 29 staff.

    Member events such as EPPRD signatory meetings, industry forums and Member forums, are an important way to bring government and industry members together to discuss aspects of the biosecurity system and common issues shared between sector stakeholders.

  • 2020

    Board Chair Steve McCutcheon (2017-2023) works with newly appointed CEO Sarah Corcoran (2020-current) to service 59 Members and 49 EPPRD signatories supported by 35 staff.

    PHA’s income is $11 million and AUSPestCheck® is released and endorsed as the national data aggregation systems for plant health surveillance.

  • 2021

    CEO Sarah Corcoran releases the 2022-27 Strategic Plan defining the future for PHA and its priorities for the next five years.

    Watch the launch video