Message from the CEO November 2021

November 15, 2021

Quite a lot has happened in the last month with detections of the exotic beetle, polyphagous shot-hole borer (Euwallacea fornicatus) in Western Australia and the exotic moth, mango shoot looper (Perixera illepidaria) in Queensland, eDNA technology deployed with frontline biosecurity officersa new traceability pilot project for high-value exports and expressions of interests for the Biosecurity Innovation Program. These activities, investments, and collaborations demonstrate how the adoption of innovation, use of contemporary technology, and strategic partnerships help to build a stronger national plant biosecurity system. These detections are also an ever-present reminder to check plants and crops regularly for signs of pests and diseases and report anything unusual to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

In PHA news, our 2021 Annual Report is out now and available for download on the PHA website. The Annual Report marks my first year as CEO and the end of the 2016-21 Strategic Plan. I’m proud to report the PHA team has worked diligently, performing well against our key performance indicators. Keep an eye out for our new five-year Strategic Plan which will be launched later this month.

PHA’s member meetings will be held virtually on 23-24 November 2021, with the 21st Annual General Meeting being held on Tuesday 23 November. Member registration forms are available online and registrations close on Monday 15 November.

Yesterday, the virtual Australian Biosecurity Awards were held. Congratulations to Pohlman’s Nursery for taking home the Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award. The award recognises Pohlman’s Nursery role in leading the adoption and implementation of an on-farm biosecurity program in the nursery production industry. It is always an honour to present this award alongside Animal Health Australia, and we are pleased to see a large-scale plant producer that is so passionate about biosecurity and who have shared the benefit of improved production with their industry.

I was also honoured with the Dr Kim Ritman Award for Science and Innovation. Thank you to Jenny Logan for your nomination and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for awarding me this accolade. To be recognised in the league of great scientists is very humbling. Plant health is of global importance and a field of great complexity that requires lateral thinking and collaboration. My inspiration comes from developing new and innovative ways to further protect Australia’s biosecurity system.

Sarah Corcoran
CEO, Plant Health Australia