Message from the CEO October 2021

October 15, 2021

With 120,000 beehives required to support pollination of north west Victoria’s almond orchards, up to 20 million sterile fruit flies released over Adelaide each week and the kick-off to the brown marmorated stink bug season, the past month demonstrates the ongoing investment in prevention activities to protect the livelihoods of producers and the end-to-end supply chain.

Our 2021 Annual Report has been finalised and marks my first year at the helm of PHA. Despite the unprecedented challenges the past year has brought, the PHA team has worked diligently to deliver against the seven key result areas while continuing to bring together and partner with stakeholders to achieve our collective goals. The Board selection process has progressed well and more information on the nominees as well as a copy of the Annual Report will be available in the Annual General Meeting papers that will be distributed to our members at the end of the month.

In partnership with Grain Producers Australia, we have designed, developed and launched a new online biosecurity hub with industry-specific resources and tools for grain growers. The Grains Farm Biosecurity website aims to improve the management and preparedness for biosecurity risks in the grains industry at farm and industry levels by providing practical biosecurity management tools that make a big difference.

Later this month, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) will host episode five in their Australian Biosecurity Series titled ‘Protecting Australia’s plant health’. With speakers from the Plant Innovation Centre, DAWE and PHA, the webinar will explore the status of plant biosecurity including key pests and diseases and how the risks are managed. Email [email protected] to become part of the biosecurity webinar series distribution list and receive alerts.

The National Biosecurity Forum will take place online from 10-11 November. Hosted on behalf of the National Biosecurity Committee, this annual forum brings together government, business and industry stakeholders to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovative approaches to protecting Australia’s biosecurity system. This year the forum will be forward looking with focus on a national biosecurity strategy, shared responsibility and partnerships and preparedness. The Australian Biosecurity Awards will also be presented at the forum. Register to attend.

The National Botanic Gardens Surveillance Network consists of staff from botanic gardens across Australia. For the team at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, plant health is a priority year-round with coordinated surveillance efforts to detect and diagnose significant plant pests and diseases. In episode 26 of ABC’s Gardening Australia, Chris Lang the Curator discusses the devastating impact of myrtle rust in Australia.

In the ACT, as we look forward to the easing of restrictions, we are planning a phased return-to-the office approach for our locally-based staff that is COVID-19 safe and ensures ongoing connectivity with our stakeholders.

Sarah Corcoran
CEO, Plant Health Australia