From fruit flies to smuts and nematodes to beetles, Cate Klaer sees some nasty pests in her job as PIRSA’s Manager of Market Access and Systems.
Cate officially started in the role in June, after acting in the role for six months. She previously worked as Senior Plant Biosecurity Officer with the Market Access team at PIRSA.
“In my new role, I manage the operations team in the Market Access group, which includes auditors, inspectors and the One Biosecurity team who do a lot of biosecurity engagement work,” Cate said.
“My role involves writing and assessing plant pest policy and working with plant health managers in other states to ensure our industries in South Australia are protected.
“It includes a lot of negotiation, examining trade conditions and proposals and presenting trade proposals to ensure the safe movement of fruit, vegetables and plants into and out of South Australia.”
Cate’s job also involves organising PIRSA’s market access responses to plant pest detections, which in recent years has focused on fruit fly.
“I actually started at PIRSA as a 20-year-old casual on a fruit fly response team,” Cate said.
“It was just a job at the time, but as I continued to work with PIRSA in the biosecurity space, I started to see the huge community value in the work.
“Biosecurity is mostly an unknown field to everyday people. People don’t see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep industries and communities safe.
“I really enjoy that feeling of keeping the community protected and helping people. I also enjoy the pace and variety of biosecurity work.”
Cate says there are a huge number of plant pests that could do serious damage if they were to enter South Australia.
“That includes phylloxera, which isn’t in South Australia and if it arrives, could severely damage the South Australian wine industry,” Cate said. “That’s why the work we do on movement restrictions, border control and compliance is so important.”
In her downtime, Cate enjoys travelling and a nice glass of South Australian wine. “I really want to get to North and South America and see parts of Asia that I haven’t explored and explore Western Australian,” Cate said.
“But that’s tricky at the moment, so I’m making the most of South Australia’s beautiful beaches and enjoying some camping with our long-haired German shepherd, Maxx.”