Tue 06, Dec 2016
Australia’s biosecurity systems must be well resourced into the future, or we risk damaging our reputation as an exporter of ‘clean’ agricultural products.
That’s according to the recently released Ag Institute Australia Biosecurity Policy Paper, designed to inform and guide agricultural professionals with a range of policy recommendations.
The document also calls for consistency between states/territories in the allocation of resources for biosecurity surveillance and extension activities.
AIA National Chair Andrew Bishop says achieving regulatory consistency while also ensuring the system isn’t overly restrictive is essential.
“Without this approach, we end up with confusion within national industries, placing variable burdens on industry sectors.
“However, the paper also acknowledges evidence-based regional differences may justify some variations in biosecurity regulations,” Mr Bishop explains.
AIA’s biosecurity policy also calls for evidence-based import risk assessments, country of origin quality assurance and ongoing industry preparedness.
“Australia’s excellent reputation as an exporter of quality agricultural products will be at risk if a high level of biosecurity is not maintained.
“The consequences of a reduced biosecurity status include exclusion from international markets, reduced export commodity prices, increased production costs and damage to our rural industries.
“This would not only negatively impact farm gate prices, the Australian economy and future new market opportunities, but could also have significant negative environmental, social and health consequences,” Mr Bishop concludes.
The second of a series of AIA policy statements developed by Advocacy and Policy Special Interest Group (APSIG), the Biosecurity Policy Paper can be found on the AIA website here.
As the nation’s peak body representing agricultural professionals, AIA, through the APSIG, is continuing to develop policy on topics critical to industry.
One more policy statement is imminent, Agricultural Science and Innovation, and work is actively progressing on another on Education and Training.
Chair of Ag Institute Australia, Andrew Bishop