Australia’s first National Biosecurity Strategy – a roadmap for Australia’s biosecurity system over the next 10 years – has been released by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said while state, territory and federal governments had undertaken their own biosecurity planning in the past, this was the first overarching national plan to harmonise the prevention of incursions by exotic pests and diseases.

“Strong and efficient biosecurity is even more important as we respond to emerging challenges including diseases on our doorstep including foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, lumpy skin disease and Xylella,” Minister Watt said.

The new national strategy includes action in six priority areas:

  • Shared biosecurity culture
  • Stronger partnerships
  • Highly skilled workforce
  • Coordinated preparedness and response
  • Sustainable investment
  • Integration supported by technology, research and data

CSIRO’s 2020 Biosecurity Report said while Australia had one of the world’s strongest biosecurity systems, outbreaks were continuing to rise in volume and complexity. It said the risks were increasing due to growing levels of trade and travel, urbanisation, climate change and biodiversity loss.

CSIRO found that between 2012 and 2017, the annual number of interceptions of biosecurity risk materials at Australian borders rose by almost 50 per cent to 37,014 a year.

CSIRO has calculated that pests, weeds and diseases cost Australia $25 billion a year, including environmental damage from feral pigs, goats, rabbits, deer and other exotic pests.

To read the National Biosecurity Strategy click here.