Delivering surveillance and resourcing into the future

  • Delivering surveillance and resourcing into the future image

Plant Health Australia (PHA) will be delivering a framework to address future plant pest surveillance and resourcing needs in a project that investigates requirements for the development of a Nationally Integrated Surveillance System for Plant Pests (NISSPP).

Plant industry and government representatives from across the country converged at the Park Royal Hotel in Melbourne from 13 – 14 March to finalise activities to investigate requirements for a NISSP.

The workshop was the culmination of two phases of one-on-one consultations in 2023 and 2024 and presented findings from the previous consultation processes.

Attendees discussed the current surveillance system and programs and identified requirements to improve the way plant pest surveillance is delivered and resourced into the future. This is being used to develop an implementation plan based on a shared understanding between plant industries and governments.

The final workshop sought a vision for an effective, efficient, and ongoing surveillance system for plant pests. The following vision statement was developed:

“A comprehensive, resilient, and evidence based national surveillance system to support prioritised detection of new plant pests and market access through collaborative efforts among stakeholders and partners that ensures accountability, resource adequacy, and continuous research/technology testing to anticipate and mitigate biosecurity threats.”

Workshop attendees strongly agreed surveillance activities need to be improved in areas at high risk of pest entry and establishment, roles and responsibilities need to be defined, and we need to gain value for biosecurity outcomes from citizen science and grower-led crop monitoring.

In addition to the surveillance activities themselves, Australia has developed world-class tools and systems to share and analyse data from surveillance on a national level. These work behind the scenes to assist peak industry bodies and governments in meeting needs for market access and the collation of new pest detection information. Although our biosecurity system is built on this infrastructure, we need to ensure a clear path for resourcing these tools into the future.

The implementation plan has developed action areas and targets to support the vision and these needs which is currently being reviewed by the NISSPP Steering Committee.

The NISSPP project is led by PHA and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). The project recognises that while surveillance is critical to detect pests, providing data for improved decision-making in responses, and building and maintaining market access, it is costly.