Message from the CEO – June 2024

  • Message from the CEO – June 2024 image

As we approach the end of June and look towards the new financial year, it would be remiss of me not to mention the 2024–25 Federal Budget, delivered in May by the Treasurer, the Hon Jim Chalmers MP. The new Budget provides $789 million over eight years to help farmers and producers adapt to the impacts of climate change, build their resilience and maintain Australia’s position as a trusted and reliable trading partner. Other Budget measures for the agriculture portfolio include $3.4 million to implement the government’s plan for forestry, $16.9 million for biosecurity services at the new Western Sydney Airport and $3.6 million for the Digital Trade Accelerator Program to strengthen border protection. Read more about the agriculture Budget measures on the Budget website.

Internally, PHA’s budget and portfolio of work for the new financial year, as outlined in the 2024-25 Annual Operational Plan (AOP) was presented and supported by all Members at the General Meeting (GM), held as part of our twice-yearly Member meetings and which also included the 14th PHA Members Forum, the 37th Plant Industry Forum (PIF), 39th Signatories Meeting and 3rd Government Members Forum. Visit our website to read the Chair address, the GM presentation and the Member meeting program.

Following our Member meetings, Mr Kim Halbert, PHA Chair, Jessica Arnold, Chief Operating Officer, and I appeared before the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Legislation Committee for Senate Estimates. Throughout the proceedings, PHA were questioned on Member sentiment on the proposed Biosecurity Protection Levy as well as the questions on notice received after our RRAT appearance in February. A recording of our appearance is available online.

I am delighted to share that earlier this month, the National Biosecurity Training Hub’s communications campaign won the Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) Australia Award for Excellence in Emergency Communications in the Readiness and Resilience category. Amanda Yong, PHA’s National Manager Marketing and Communications, and I attended the EMPA conference dinner in Canberra where we accepted the award.  We are extremely proud of our contribution to emergency communications and grateful to our project partners, the QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Agriculture Victoria, and Animal Health Australia. I would like to thank PHA’s MarComms team who led the Hub campaign taking on the responsibility for the communications strategy and implementation plan as well as the creative work and in-house production. In other Hub news, we are excited to announce that the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry has joined as a project partner to help us drive positive biosecurity behaviours and embed biosecurity in business continuity planning to protect our valuable agriculture industries and Australian way of life.

As Horticulture is Australia’s third largest agriculture industry, and a significant proportion of our Membership base, it’s fitting that Dr Lucy Tran-Nguyen, General Manager, Partnerships and Innovation, and I attended Hort Connections – Australia’s premier horticulture conference and trade show. Through the Farm Biosecurity Program, we were pleased to once again sponsor this key event which was well attended, and provided us with an opportunity to network and better understand how we can work together with our Members and growers to strengthen plant biosecurity.

Finally, the winter solstice is almost upon us for this year. An astronomical phenomenon where the earth is at its maximum tilt away from the sun, creating the shortest day and longest night of the year. For me it is a time for reconnection with self and to reflect on the wonders of nature whilst signaling the turning point of the season and that new growth is just around the corner.