PHA 22nd General Meeting – Chairperson’s address

  • PHA 22nd General Meeting – Chairperson’s address image

31 May 2023

Welcome everyone both online and in the room with me, to the 22nd hybrid General Meeting of Plant Health Australia.

Before we begin, I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of our country. I pay my respect to their elders, past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

On the agenda for today is the 2022/23 Year to Date Performance Report, the 2023/24 Annual Operational Plan and the 2023/24 Member subscriptions for ordinary resolution.

As an integral part of the Australian plant biosecurity system, PHA is cognisant of the mounting challenges and pressures felt by all stakeholders and the need for system transformation to maintain our world-class biosecurity system. The $1 billion biosecurity funding announced as part of the Federal Budget and the move towards a sustainable biosecurity funding model is welcome however, there is still much unknown about the proposed new Biosecurity protection levy. PHA will endeavour to actively engage with the Australian Government to understand the new levy and how it will be used to strengthen the biosecurity system.

As an organisation we are aware of the need to adapt and focus our activities in the areas we can maximise our impact and deliver the best value to our Member base.

The 2023/24 Annual Operational Plan presents PHA’s key activities and targets for the next financial year to support PHA’s vision of being a valued leader of a strong, integrated plant biosecurity system. The portfolio of work to be undertaken in the next 12 months is categorised under each of our three strategic priorities; Respond effectively, Strengthen Partnerships and Enhance integration. Most of you would have seen the draft AOP at the March webinar and received an electronic copy after the webinar. Thank you to those Members who provided feedback during the consultation period. This feedback was incorporated in the revised AOP distributed with the meeting papers earlier this month.

For the coming year, subject to a Member vote, PHA subscriptions will increase by 3.5%. This means that core funding through subscriptions from our government, industry and associate Members will be $2.849 million. PHA also expects to receive $11.095 in non-subscription project funding which not only aligns with and supports our Strategic Plan but allows PHA to have surge capacity and capability when needed. A breakdown of these figures is given in the AOP.

In addition, the Board is evaluating the additional capacity required over and above PHA’s role under the Emergency Plant Pest Deed, as custodian of the Deed and in excess of normal commitments, to ensure that as an organisation we can continue to not only support our Members’ needs but ensure the level of support matches our Members’ expectations. We look forward to hearing more about this in the 37th Signatories Meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning and to unpacking the level of support required in order to develop an equitable and sustainable solution.

Finally, I would like to thank the PHA team for arranging the Plant Industry Forum, General Meeting and Members Forum and for preparing an AOP that continues to maximise Member benefits but also focuses on strengthening the plant biosecurity system for the benefit of the economy, environment and community.

Thank you for your attendance today and for your support over the past 12 months. I look forward to seeing you all at our AGM later this year.

View the General Meeting presentation.