Simulation exercises for our Members, support the other forms of training delivered and test specific aspects of Member’s biosecurity emergency preparedness. Together with discussion exercise activities that are included in the face-to-face training, PHA also works with Members to deliver larger scale functional exercises, such as those listed below. 

Past exercises

Exercise Blueprint was held in Toowoomba on 7–8 August 2019. Participants at the exercise examined a fictional detection of cotton blue disease on a cotton farm in Queensland, through a range of discussions and activities to find out how the industry would respond to an incursion of this exotic pest. 

The main aims of the exercise were to identify how the industry would be engaged in a response, and the communication channels industry would use to ensure the right messages would reach their stakeholders. 

The exercise was funded by CRDC to improve the biosecurity preparedness of the cotton industry. 

Exercise Fastidious, held in Brisbane on 14-15 November 2018, tested elements of a response to the detection of Xylella fastidiosa, Australia’s number one plant pest threat. Although the focus of the exercise was on the production nursery sector, the broader implications to all industries were considered. 

Participants considered the technical feasibility of eradication, complexes (i.e. the combination of Xylella and an insect vector), and whether there are any Australian native insect vectors of the disease. They also developed a Response Plan. 

Initial exercise outcomes included an agreed position for eradication, identification of gaps in Australia’s preparedness to respond to Xylella and the development of research questions to fill some of the gaps. 

Exercise Bee Prepared simulated a response to a detection of varroa mite (Varroa destructor), considered the greatest challenge facing world beekeeping. Participants developed a response strategy to eradicate varroa mite from a peri-urban environment, for the days immediately following a fictional detection of the pest. 

Between March and October 2018, PHA facilitated workshops across the country to test varroa response arrangements and availability of resources. The Australian Government and each state and territory government hosted an Exercise Bee Prepared activity. 

The exercise concluded with a national meeting to assess what was learned and agree on a national approach. 

Exercise Border Bridge was held on 5-9 March 2018 to test how NSW and Queensland would respond to a biosecurity incident occurring across both jurisdictions. 

The focus of the exercise was the use of legislation, IT systems and existing arrangements to respond to the biosecurity incident. 

PHA helped to plan this large simulation exercise which was run by NSW Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the National Biosecurity Response Team Advisory Group. 

Exercise Haryana was a simulation exercise designed to test the preparedness for, and our ability to respond to, the detection of Karnal bunt in Australia. Karnal bunt is a serious exotic fungal pest of wheat, durum and triticale that impacts on the quality and marketability of the grains. 

This exercise built on the significant preparedness work already undertaken by the grains industry and a number of governments, consisting of nine activities in 2015-16. 

Activities covered public information in a response, surveillance, tracing, movement controls and national decision making. 

Exercise Yellow Dragon simulated a response to a detection of Asiatic citrus psyllid and huanglongbing, two of the most serious threats to Australia’s citrus industry. The scenario was concentrated on the urban areas within and surrounding Sydney and enabled the participants to test three key aspects: 

  • response operations under the constraints of an urban setting 
  • tracing of potential host material through nurseries 
  • engaging the community effectively to support the response efforts. 

The exercise was hosted by NSW Department of Primary Industries and included 35 participants with a range of experience in emergency responses from the citrus and nursery industries, government agencies and PHA. 

The potential impacts of a varroa mite detection, and the ensuing response, on the pollination dependent industries was investigated at Workshop Acari. Government regulators, pollination providers, and representatives from the beekeeping and pollination-dependent industries interacted with international and Australian experts through a mixture of key note presentations and discussion activities. 

The workshop demonstrated to apiarists, the almond and other pollination dependent industries how to prepare for, and act in, an incursion and built on the Varroa Mite Preparedness of Pollination Dependent Industries report.

Exercise Tortrix simulated a detection of false codling moth, a serious exotic pest that could, in the case of a real incursion, potentially cause huge losses to plant production in Australia. 

To determine how to respond to an incursion, 70 representatives from industry and government came together during the week of 12 August 2013 to participate in simulated meetings of the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests and the National Management Group, and to develop a Response Plan. 

A fictional scenario involving the detection of brown marmorated stink bug in an apple orchard in Shepparton, Victoria that escalated in scale in complexity to enable a range of functional control centre activities to be explored. 

Exercise Aggregate was delivered over two days in Victoria with participation from a range of plant industries, staff from Agriculture Victoria and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.  

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