Keeping Australia safe from harmful pests and diseases is the focus of a $370 million biosecurity spend in the new federal budget, announced last week.

The funding includes almost $100m for an offshore assurance program to identify freight containers for intervention, $35m for research about how pests can enter Australia and $20m for a pre-border passenger screening trial.

Spending will also include $30m to improve biosecurity management of international mail and a $3.9m community and business awareness campaign.

“Protecting our borders is as much about protecting our livestock, crops and environment from diseases that have the potential to devastate them and the livelihoods they support,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told ABC News.

He said Australia’s biosecurity system also safeguarded the $42-billion inbound tourism industry and $53b in agricultural exports.

“This investment is about putting a protective ring around Australia to safeguard industry as well as the rural and regional communities that depend on it,” the Prime Minister said.

“There will never be zero risk, but we are committed to reducing the risk where possible.

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