Message from the CEO – April 2021

  • Message from the CEO – April 2021 image

The first 90 days of 2021 have been busy for us at PHA, notably marked by the release of our Mid-Year Performance Report in February and our well-attended Annual Operational Plan member webinar in March.

The first three months of this year have also brought severe weather events, with primary producers in far north Queensland dealing with tropical cyclone Niran in February, followed by storms, torrential rain and floods in southern Queensland and the New South Wales border in March. Initial reports indicate between 20 to 100 per cent crop losses across the banana, avocado, cotton and blueberry industries. Combined with moderate to high mouse activity experienced in the southern states, increased locust populations and legacy issues from the Black Summer bushfires, Australian producers are doing it tough and facing many challenges. On a positive note, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences reported the benefits of our summer rainfall on dryland crops in eastern Australia and noted Australia’s second-biggest winter crop on record.

Australia’s new legislative framework for agricultural exports came into effect last week. Designed to support innovation and efficiencies in our plant industries, there are some key changes to policy, IT systems and forms that agricultural exporters should be aware of. Read more about the new export legislation below.

As we look to the next three months, member and staff consultation on our new five-year strategic plan will commence, the Board selection process will begin, development of the 2020 National Plant Biosecurity Status Report will continue and preparations for the National Fruit Fly Symposium will ramp up.

This month we welcome Mila Bristow to the role of National Manager, Performance and Innovation and farewell Alex Lucchetti, one of our Communication Officers.

Ongoing fluctuations to Covid-19 restrictions and managing the risks that go along with new strains and variants is a sober reminder that we are still operating in an environment that can change at the drop of a hat. We will renew our Covid-19 safe efforts in the next 90 days and continue to do our part to keep our workforce safe.

Sarah Corcoran

CEO, Plant Health Australia