Plan aims to boost State biose­cu­rity

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

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.

Pic­ture: Mary Meagher

Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Mark Lewis.

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