Message from the CEO – November 2022

  • Message from the CEO – November 2022 image

Welcome to the November edition of Tendrils, our second last e-newsletter for 2022!

Unlike the winding down of activities that usually precedes the end-of-year holidays, the past few weeks have shown that biosecurity is still high on the national agenda.

Last month, our Chair Steve McCutcheon and I attended the Agricultural Budget breakfast hosted by CropLife, to hear the Hon. Minister Watt outline the budget line items for agriculture and biosecurity.  Plant Health Australia (PHA), welcomes the Albanese $134 million investment in biosecurity measures to improve border screening, and their $204 million package to boost innovation and training in the timber industry. These key investments will go towards bolstering Australia’s biosecurity system and demonstrates the Government’s support for agricultural industries. Making biosecurity a priority is essential in order to protect and grow this $1.5 billion industry.

Another key milestone in working towards a contemporary Australian plant biosecurity system, was the release of the revised Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) at the end of October. The revisions offer enhanced operation and clarity across a number of provisions and outcomes including the key policy matters of ‘Owner Reimbursement Costs in the absence of a Response Plan’ and vector/pathogen complexes, together with 29 other variations. These variations represent a significant milestone in the evolution of the EPPRD and are the outcome of considerable work undertaken by the signatories over several years. Ratified on 26 October 2005, last month we also celebrated 17 years of the EPPRD – a landmark agreement which provides the strong foundational partnerships in plant biosecurity.

In PHA news, our 2022 Annual Report is now available for download from our website, with a printed copy sent to all our members along with the notice of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The report marks my second year as CEO and the conclusion of the 2016-21 Strategic Plan.

Our Member meetings will be held 29-30 November 2022 in Canberra, with the 22nd AGM being held on Tuesday 29 November. Invitations have been sent to all members with the program, proxy form and registration link. A reminder that Member registrations close this Friday 18 November.

Another significant event is the 2022 PHA Member survey, which opens shortly. Once again we’ve commissioned Kynetec, a leading agricultural market research company, to conduct the survey. The survey seeks to evaluate our performance specifically against our Strategic Plan and priorities as well as implementation of programs, initiatives, communications and engagements.

On the note of Members, I’d like to congratulate Jim Pekin on his retirement. Jim was a long-serving CEO of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council and well known for his passion and work behind the scenes of the banana industry. Personally it has been an absolute pleasure to know and work with Jim through my previous roles in Biosecurity Queensland, Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and currently PHA. We wish Jim all the very best in this next phase of his life adventure.

I’d also like to welcome Brigit Perry and Somania Dahal to the PHA team. Brigit has joined as a Project Officer in the Digital Systems team and Somania Dahal who commenced as our Management Accountant in our corporate team.

With a few short weeks until we enter the final month of 2022, the PHA team is hard at work delivering against our priority areas and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming meetings and will be preparing a final edition of Tendrils for December.