Biosecurity is a cornerstone to the viability of the Australian wine industry. Freedom from pests offers many benefits, keeping our industry viable by:
- Sustaining the health of our vines, including minimising premature vine decline
- Allowing growers to meet their production goals in terms of tonnage and quality
- Reducing input costs that otherwise would be incurred, for example through having to apply additional sprays, putting in place certification or accreditation schemes onsite to allow grapes to be sent or received, and setting up disinfestation facilities
- Maintaining market access for goods and services
- Enabling tourism without limitations
Risks and threats
Some of the biosecurity risks and threats that contractors face, or could face, as part of their work include pests, diseases, weeds, spores and seeds. These can be both of an endemic or exotic nature, seen or unseen, and vary all year round.
There are many movement vectors for these risks and threats, including insects, animals, people (footwear and clothing), soil, water, wind, plant material, tools, machinery, vehicles, equipment, pallets and cargo.
Decisions around how contractors interact with these vectors can play a large role in the actual or potential spread of these risks and threats.
Impacts of an outbreak on a contractor
If a contractor operates in a region or on a vineyard in which there is a declared pest or disease outbreak, their ability to work may be compromised to varying extents. This may include:
- Being shut out, or shut in, from working on properties. This is accompanied by a temporary or permanent loss of income, and in some cases, a lack of access to their machinery.
- Having to comply with mandatory movement restrictions which may limit work opportunities
- Having to comply with increased regulatory requirements, which are likely to impose additional costs. They may include disinfestation and accreditation requirements.
- Employee management issues