Plan aims to boost State biosecurity
The State Government has announced new measures to bolster WA’s biosecurity through improved partnerships, education, research, regulation and surveillance.
The WA Biosecurity Strategy 2016-25 laid out seven biosecurity goals including building collaboration between stakeholders such as industry and government, boosting early detection and emergency preparedness mechanisms, and furthering of WA-specific research through agencies such as the CSIRO.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said globalisation and climate change had heightened the biosecurity threat to WA. “While our remote location is a powerful defence against many of the world’s worst pests and diseases,” he said.
“The State’s enviable biosecurity reputation is invaluable to securing market access and our tough and sophisticated protocols are regarded as among the best in the world.
“This strategy will reinforce our international standing and pave the way for new export opportunities that will help to grow the agriculture and food sector, and the State economy.”
Shadow agriculture minister Mick Murray said budget and staff cuts meant the strategy was destined to fail. “The LiberalNational Government has sacked half of the department’s staff — about 700 people — and replaced them with a 30-page report,” he said. “When it comes to biosecurity, there is no substitute for proper resourcing and, every week, I see another outbreak somewhere in the State. The cuts have decimated the department and created an unacceptable biosecurity risk in WA.
“They’ve forced department staff to do more with less.”
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the strategy would help preserve land and marine environments from the Kimberley to the South Coast.
“Strong and innovative biosecurity defences are crucial to the future of WA agriculture and the strength of our regional economy,” he said.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis.