The Plant Biosecurity Research Symposium, held in Adelaide on 11 and 12 May, shared the work of more than 50 researchers and industry representatives from a range of sectors, including grape and wine.

Organised by the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI), this year’s symposium had a theme of ‘Partnerships for greater research impact’.

“We’re just emerging from one of the biggest biosecurity threats of our lives in COVID,” said Dr Jo Luck, Program Director at the PBRI.

“Through all of this, we’ve seen the critical importance of research in lifting us up and restoring our way of life. This has been achieved through vaccines, genomic testing, contact tracing and so much more.

“A key role of the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative is to coordinate research across the plant biosecurity sectors and to leverage expertise and investment to create lasting impact. We do that through collaboration.”

In his welcome to delegates, Andrew Tongue, Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) commended the work of the PBRI and said science underpins action in biosecurity.

“Australian faces more biosecurity threats now than ever before in history. The reasons are complex, but essentially, climate change and global trading patterns are working together to speed the movement of pests and diseases to Australia,” he said.

“We’re stopping more pests and diseases at the border than ever before, but things still get through.”

Andrew also said more pests and diseases are becoming established in Australia.

“Research and innovation are essential in combating pests and disease before they even get to the border, at the border, immediately after the border and on-farm in regions,” he said.

Keynote speakers included Joel Willis, Principal Director of Detection Capability and Emerging Technology in Biosecurity Operations Division at DAWE, who gave insights into the advances in technology for biosecurity risk detection at the national border.

Ben Harris, Regional Viticulture Manager at Treasury Wine Estates, gave the keynote address on day one of the symposium, sharing the wine company’s work in biosecurity preparedness.

More news from the symposium is featured in this May e-news edition.

Vinehealth Australia Chair Dr Prue McMIchael with Program Director for the Plant Biosecuirty Research Initiative and Vinehealth Australia board member Dr Jo Luck at the symposium.