By Joanna Cave – Chief Executive Officer, Greenlife Industry Australia
The Albanese government appears to be leaning into the biosecurity debate. Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, launched a new national biosecurity strategy at Canberra’s National Press Club recently. It’s an ambitious plan that aims to deal with “multiple risks, on multiple fronts, at the same time”. Whilst the risks that threaten livestock tend to dominate the headlines, Minister Watt was careful to mention horticulture in his announcement, referring particularly to the fast-spreading Xylella fastidiosa as a top-priority pathogen potentially affecting about 550 plant species.
Under the plan, the Government aims to raise awareness, enhance surveillance and early detection programs. Planned reforms include a review state and federal roles in the management of biosecurity threats in the future. At the launch, Mr Watt made it clear that the new plan needs to meet the challenges presented by the changing climate, such as “the harsh cycle of extreme drought and extreme rainfall”. Further, Mr Watt committed to be “the minister that works with industry, with workers and rural communities to tackle climate change”. GIA is watching these developments with keen interest, and we will be reporting back to industry stakeholders.