Western Australia’s draft State Biosecurity Strategy has been released today at the 2014 State Biosecurity Forum in Fremantle and is now available for public comment.
The draft strategy provides strategic directions for the management of emerging and ongoing biosecurity issues for Western Australia over a 10-year period from 2015 to 2025.
The document was prepared by a cross-agency group led by the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Fisheries, Forest Products Commission and Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Valuable input to its development was also provided by the Western Australian Biosecurity Council, which was informed through industry and community consultation.
DAFWA’s Acting Biosecurity and Regulation Executive Director John Ruprecht said biosecurity was an essential part of business for the State’s industries and there was no doubt that pest risks were higher from increased trade, travel and climate variability.
“Incursions of exotic pests and diseases have the capacity to disrupt our export and domestic trade of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and commercial fishing, as well as affecting our unique environment, biodiversity and social amenity,” Mr Ruprecht said.
“While WA is free from many of the world’s worst pests and diseases, our status is constantly under threat due to globalisation which increases the volume and range of products traded nationally and internationally.
“Maintaining our area-freedom status is imperative to access valuable trade markets – especially as more than eighty per cent of the State’s agricultural production is exported.”
Writing the strategy meant all the government departments responsible for delivery of animal and plant pest and disease biosecurity came together in the one room.
“The draft strategy is based on five principles that underpin our biosecurity system, being a shared responsibility, using risk-based investment decisions, having effective surveillance and diagnostics, maintaining capacity and capability as well as using the best science and technology to manage our biosecurity problems,” Mr Ruprecht said.
The draft strategy also includes seven case studies to illustrate how some major biosecurity issues are being addressed by various state departments.
“These case studies illustrate the State Biosecurity Strategy in action, by articulating the principles and actions that are embraced as part of the response to an incursion,” Mr Ruprecht said.
“They include reports on bovine Johne’s disease, Khapra beetle, Asian paddle crab, eel-tailed catfish, cane toad management, baiting introduced predators and wild dog management.”
We are encouraging feedback on the draft strategy to ensure it captures the views of the community and industry as well as government.
The draft strategy is available from the DAFWA website agric.wa.gov.au search for ‘State Biosecurity Strategy’.
Comments on the draft strategy close on Friday 13 March 2015 and can be forwarded to the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia by emailing [email protected]