The State Government is developing a new Biosecurity Act for South Australia, through Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

The new Biosecurity Act will merge several existing pieces of biosecurity legislation into one, with the aim of creating a simpler and more effective legal framework for the management of:

  • Pests, diseases and weeds;
  • Trade in plant and animal products; and
  • Biosecurity emergencies.

The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995 (the Phylloxera Act) was one of the acts identified for inclusion when the project was announced in 2019.

However, following significant feedback from the grape and wine industries via the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA), the Wine Grape Council of SA (WGCSA) and Vinehealth Australia over the past year, the new Minister for Primary Industries David Basham has recognised that the decision of whether or not to include the Phylloxera Act in the new Biosecurity Act, or to remain as separate legislation must be at the discretion of the viticulture and wine industries.

Minister Basham stated that if the grape and wine industries reach a position during the drafting of the new Biosecurity Act that it would like the Phylloxera Act to be included, he is happy for this to occur. But he is equally happy for the Phylloxera Act to remain as a standalone act.

“Based on information available, we asked for the Phylloxera Act to be excluded from the new Biosecurity Act,” said Brian Smedley, Chief Executive of SAWIA.

“It is evident that the Minister has given the wine industry the choice to determine whether the Phylloxera Act is included or not. It is also clear that industry has flexibility to exercise this choice at any time during the drafting and review of the new Biosecurity Act. This is a good outcome for the South Australian wine industry, which has such a strong biosecurity history, reputation and record.”

Brian said the wine industry was well served by the Phylloxera Act. “With the foresight of our past champions of viticulture, this Act, the only one of its kind in Australia, could well be the reason for the focus and efforts that South Australia has undertaken since 1899 to keep our viticulture assets free from phylloxera and other pests and diseases,” he said.

“The wine industry continues to show strong support for the Phylloxera Act, and the work of the staff and Board of Vinehealth Australia.”

Minister Basham is encouraging the grape and wine industries to participate in the development of the new Biosecurity Act and share the significant knowledge and insights it has gained over the 120 years of the evolution of the Phylloxera Act.

“We’re pleased to offer our insights on how the new Biosecurity Act can come together to be the most effective legislation possible, to protect our industries and our natural assets in SA,” said Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee.

“We wholeheartedly support efforts to improve the legislative framework that supports biosecurity activities in this state.

“This wine industry participation will enable us to make informed decisions as to whether the Phylloxera Act should be included in the Biosecurity Act, or remain as a standalone Act, to ensure the best outcomes for our industry.

“With increasing biosecurity risks on our doorstep, our system must remain strong.”

PIRSA will soon begin a process of public consultation to help shape the new act. Industry meetings and community forums will be held across the state where people can join in facilitated discussions about key aspects of the proposed new legislation.

During the public consultation on the Directions Paper you will also be able to give your feedback by:

  • Completing an online survey; and
  • Giving a written submission.

We’ll keep you up to date with how you can participate in the development of the new Biosecurity Act for South Australia.