Saturday, July 20, 2024

New online training packs available

Two new online training packages will help more people recognise exotic pests and diseases.

Queensland’s Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, and Minister for Rural Communities, Mark Furner, said Biosecurity Queensland, Plant Health Australia, and the New South Wales Government have developed two new online training packages, Hitchhiker Pests, and Nursery Pests and Diseases.

“Increasing global trade and the corresponding movement of pests and diseases means Australians need to be ready to tackle evolving biosecurity risks,” Mr Furner said.

“Hitchhiker pests, as they are known, are pests and weeds that can hitch a ride to Australia in vessels, shipping containers and break-bulk cargo,” Mr Furner said.

Recent detections of hitchhiker pests in imported goods highlight the importance of recognising incoming threats. These pests have the potential for significant impacts including on our environment and way of life.

The new Hitchhiker Pests online course is aimed at businesses that deal with goods and cargo at critical points along the supply chain, including warehouses, distribution centres and large retail chains.

The Nursery Pests and Diseases course is designed for staff at local councils and retail nurseries, landscapers, and horticulturists. The course provides training in pest identification and on the actions to take if staff see a suspected exotic pest or disease on plants.

Each course takes about 30 minutes to complete, and participants will receive a certificate of completion. Employers can recognise these courses as professional development.

Plant Health Australia (PHA) Chief Executive Officer Sarah Corcoran said the new courses will be valuable additions to PHA’s library of free online training courses to enhance plant health knowledge and raise biosecurity awareness.

“Equipping key industries with practical biosecurity training and practices that they can incorporate into their day-to-day tasks, not only adds an additional layer to Australia’s biosecurity network but also demonstrates that you don’t need to be an expert to detect and report something unusual.”

Mr Furner said Australia had strong measures to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. However, for the system to be as robust as possible, it needs everyone at all points in the chain to be vigilant and report anything unusual.

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