Bal­last wa­ter tar­geted in biose­cu­rity Bill

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY -

AUS­TRALIA’S biose­cu­rity sys­tem was fur­ther strength­ened this week, with the in­tro­duc­tion of leg­is­la­tion that will pro­vide ad­di­tional safe­guards, both by air and by sea, to pro­tect our $60 bil­lion agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries.

In­tro­duced into Par­lia­ment by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources Barn­aby Joyce, the Biose­cu­rity Amend­ment (Bal­last Wa­ter and Other Mea­sures) Bill 2017 would pro­vide ad­di­tional pow­ers to con­trol dis­ease car­ri­ers at Aus­tralia’s air­ports and sea­ports.

“Threats to our biose­cu­rity can emerge to­day faster than ever be­fore.

“The re­cent global out­break of Zika virus, spread by mos­qui­toes, has shown us how im­por­tant the con­trol of dis­ease-car­ry­ing pests is,” Mr Joyce said.

“This in­cludes spray­ing in­sec­ti­cide on in­com­ing air­craft and ves­sels to kill mos­qui­toes ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing Zika virus as well as other dis­ease-car­ry­ing vec­tors so they don’t es­tab­lish pop­u­la­tions in Aus­tralia.”

Mr Joyce said the Bill would also po­si­tion Aus­tralia to rat­ify the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion for the Con­trol and Man­age­ment of Ships’ Bal­last Wa­ter and Sed­i­ment.

“Bal­last wa­ter, which is wa­ter taken by ships be­fore de­par­ture to im­prove the sta­bil­ity and dis­charged at the next port of call, is a threat to Aus­tralia’s biose­cu­rity be­cause plants and an­i­mals that live in the ocean are also picked up from the point of de­par­ture,” he said.

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