Message from the CEO – February 2022

  • Message from the CEO – February 2022 image

Welcome to the February edition of Tendrils!

2022 has certainly taken off to a flying start with the announcements of two new five-year programs; CitrusWatch designed to bolster surveillance and increase expertise or early detection of high priority pests and Phase 4 of the National Fruit Fly Council for the continued coordination of fruit fly management in Australia. PHA welcomes this investment, and we look forward to working with our project partners to deliver improved biosecurity outcomes.

In the flurry of new year activity, the Australian Government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Indonesia to cement our trade partnership with our largest export market for wheat and committed $68.4 million to agricultural traceability to develop a National traceability Summit to promote the uptake and development of new traceability technologies and systems. This national approach to traceability is crucial to protecting our country from exotic pests and pathogens and to demonstrate the quality of our exports. Additionally the government has also funded training for small grain exporters to help meet Australian and importing country quality standards to retain and access to new export markets.

Early next month, the annual ABARES Outlook 2022 will be held. The virtual conference themed ‘Growing agriculture through innovation and sustainability’ will feature sessions on national and global agricultural outlook, labour market issues, key commodities, sustainability reporting and more. Day three features a ‘future of biosecurity’ panel with Andrew Metcalfe (DAWE) Kathleen Plowman (AHA), Malcolm Letts (QDAF), Sal Milici (Freight and Trade Alliance) and I. The panel will explore the transformations required to maintain our pest and disease free status. Register for free today.

In May, the Biosecurity Collective – PHA, Animal Health Australia, Invasive Species Council and Centre for Invasive Species Solutions – will host the 2nd Australian Biosecurity Symposium. The event will be held 3 – 5 May 2022 on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Abstracts have closed for the event, and we’ve announced a few keynote speakers including Dr Norman Swan and Dr Anika Molesworth. With only three months to go, make sure you register to attend what is sure to be a biosecurity highlight for 2022.

As Lunar New Year celebrations in 2022 come to an end, don’t forget to ensure any gifts you receive don’t pose a biosecurity risk. Also as international travel resumes it is important to remember to declare any food, plant or animal products, keep an eye out for hitchhiker pests and call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 if you spot anything unusual.

2022 is already shaping up to be another bumper year for PHA and it’s members. While the PHA team has demonstrated great flexibility and resilience under Covid-19 restrictions, we are looking forward to renewing and strengthening our partnerships in face-to-face settings!


Sarah Corcoran
CEO, Plant Health Australia