Gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees must re­spect on-farm biose­cu­rity

Dairy News Australia - - OPINION - WAYNE JOHN­STON • Wayne John­ston is Pres­i­dent of the Tas­ma­nian Farm­ers and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion.

NOT ALL biose­cu­rity threats are ex­ter­nal. Sadly, over many decades Tas­ma­nian has had suc­ces­sive in­cur­sions by a range of pests, weeds and dis­eases. Many of th­ese have be­come part of the land­scape. And while it is not fea­si­ble eco­nom­i­cally, or even in a tech­no­log­i­cal sense, to erad­i­cate th­ese, we should be look­ing to man­age them. This is an in­dict­ment on our his­tory but it is one that we need to deal with. We need to look at those pests, weeds and dis­eases that have es­tab­lished them­selves in Tas­ma­nia, and on an in­di­vid­ual farm ba­sis we need to be aware of the mech­a­nisms by which they may gain a toe­hold. While gorse, for ex­am­ple, is wide­spread with sig­nif­i­cant in­cur­sions on Crown land farm­ers need to en­sure we need to en­sure that weeds such as this do not in­fest our own land. A ll farm­ers need to un­der­stand the char­ac­ter­is­tics of ex­otic dis­eases, what weed species look like, and be vig­i­lant for an­i­mals that are not na­tive to Tas­ma­nia. But in­cur­sions on farms can oc­cur in a va­ri­ety of ways, not all of which are in the con­trol of the farmer. We have sev­eral gov­ern­ment busi­nesses that reg­u­larly come on farm, which ap­pear to have no re­spect for, or un­der­stand­ing of, biose­cu­rity. Whether it be read­ing wa­ter me­ters, elec­tric­ity me­ters or un­der­tak­ing val­u­a­tions, they ap­pear to be obliv­i­ous to the fact that, as they move from farm to farm they can, and do on oc­ca­sions, be­come the vec­tor for the spread of dis­ease and pests. The TFGA calls for th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions and em­ploy­ees to not only un­dergo biose­cu­rity train­ing, but to ad­here to biose­cu­rity regimes. If this re­quires foot­baths and ve­hi­cle wash downs, or other biose­cu­rity mea­sures then so be it. It will only be a mat­ter of time be­fore one of th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions has to ad­dress the le­gal ram­i­fi­ca­tions when it is proven that they have in­fected a farm. The TFGA will con­tinue to de­mand the high­est stan­dards of biose­cu­rity in Tas­ma­nia. We need a sys­tem that is ro­bust, trans­par­ent, con­sis­tent and sci­ence-based. Any­thing less is un­ac­cept­able.

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