Message from the CEO May 2021

May 19, 2021

The past 30 days has brought many reasons to celebrate. The first one is 21 years of operation for PHA, from small beginnings in our early days with six staff and 23 members to 35 staff, 59 members and 48 signatories 21 years later. I’m very proud to lead a company that for over two decades has diligently worked behind the scenes to minimise plant pest impacts, boost productivity and profitability of our industries and enhance market access.

The second reason is the Australian Government’s budget announcement of a new $371 million biosecurity package to bolster our nation’s ability to keep out exotic pests and diseases and improve our ability to fight an outbreak by strengthening our preparedness, response and recovery capability. This commitment to protect our valuable agriculture industry also signifies the important role that agriculture will play in our national economic recovery.

The third reason was the successful delivery of the National Fruit Fly Symposium. This three-day online event hosted by the National Fruit Fly Council, Hort Innovation and PHA was aimed at progressing discussion on critical fruit fly issues and identifying ways to build a cohesive national framework. With 38 speakers and over 420 registrants across industry leaders, government representatives, researchers and growers, there was strong support for this important national discussion.

The fourth reason, and by no means the least, was the announcement that after a significant effort, citrus canker has successfully been eradicated from the Northern Territory. A big congratulations to all parties that were involved in establishing and delivering this achievement. Nationally, this means our citrus industry has one less plant pest to tackle and they will continue to have access to international markets, ensuring growers remain competitive and profitable.

In the coming days, I look forward to participating in the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference in Darwin. PHA has supported this bi-annual gathering since its inception, now in its fourth year, which was designed and established to promote the development of agriculture across northern Australia and to raise the profile of the north at a national level. I’m pleased to be presenting on why strong biosecurity is key to the success of our agricultural sectors and I invite you to visit our exhibition booth and capture the moment at our interactive green screen experience. Check out the conference event app for more information.

PHA’s General Meeting is scheduled for 31 May at the Rydges Sydney Central. The meeting has been planned as a face-to-face with the ability to participate virtually as well. We will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and will update members with as much notice as possible if we need to change plans.

Here’s to another 30 days of good news in the plant biosecurity space!

Sarah Corcoran
CEO, Plant Health Australia
May 2021