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Feedback sought on national pests and diseases framework

Sheep Central, June 4, 2015

Livestock producers have an opportunity to help develop the first national framework for managing established pests and diseases of national significance.

The Department of Agriculture, on behalf of the National Biosecurity Committee, is inviting comments on a paper which discusses new ideas to manage established weeds, pests and diseases that have a significant impact at a national level.

Department of Agriculture deputy secretary, Ms Rona Mellor said the paper, Modernising Australia’s approach to managing established pests and diseases of national significance, outlines a proposed way for governments and stakeholders to more effectively work together.

“The ongoing management of weeds, pests and diseases represents a substantial cost to Australian agricultural industries, landholders and the general community,” Ms Mellor said.

Discussion paper deals with roles of governments

The discussion paper is now open to a public consultation process to run until July 31, 2015. It is endorsed by the National Biosecurity Committee and seeks to clarify the roles and responsibilities of governments, outlining the investment priorities and principles that may be adopted.

Ms Mellor said feedback on the discussion paper will be considered in the development of the first national framework for managing established pests and diseases of national significance.

“Industry and landholders know best how to manage biosecurity threats on their property or affecting their industry, and they are in an ideal position to lead initiative and collective action, with the support of governments.

“This is a great opportunity to let us know your thoughts and if you are a landholder, non-government organisation, industry or community group I encourage you to read the discussion paper and submit your views,” she said.

Pest animals cost $620m in production in 2009

Ms Mellor said in 2009, production losses attributable to pest animals were estimated at more than $620 million per annum and weeds cost Australian farmers around $1.5 billion a year in 2004 in control activities, and a further $2.5 billion a year in lost agricultural production.

“Governments are looking at how we can better manage those established pests and diseases that have an impact at a national level by working collectively and drawing on the knowledge and experience of industry and landholders.”

This work is a key initiative under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity which identifies the need for a strategic, risk-based approach to managing the impact of established pests and diseases.

The discussion paper, and information on how to make a submission, is available on the Department of Agriculture website: www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/australia/managing-established-pests-diseases.

Source: Department of Agriculture.

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