DAFFnews - Issue 178
27 April 2012
- Australia to be drought free
- Biosecurity sniffs out online shopping bugs
- Funding available to advance Australia's risk preparedness
Australia will officially be drought free for the first time in over a decade next week as the final two Exceptional Circumstances (EC) declarations come to an end.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the expiry of EC declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla next Monday marked a major milestone for agriculture in Australia.
“The extended period of drought – which made things tough for many on the land – is finally over,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The seasonal outlook is brighter than it has been for many years and the improved conditions are a welcome reprieve for farmers across Australia.
“Now is the time to progress drought reform. We need to take this opportunity to transition from reacting to crises, to a pro-active policy approach that prepares our farmers for the future.”
While the drought is over, it’s important farming communities know hardship support is still available. The Gillard Government will provide funding for the Transitional Farm Family Payment until June 2014.
DAFF Biosecurity officers working with detector dogs at the Melbourne International Mail Centre have sniffed out 1,500 live ladybirds that were in an international mail parcel.
The insects were ordered online and posted to Australia from the United States with a false declaration stating the parcel contained “health products”.
If established in Australia this exotic species, identified as Convergent Ladybird Beetle Hippodamia convergens, could pose a serious threat to Australia’s unique fauna.
First Assistant Secretary for Quarantine Operations, Tim Chapman, said it is important people are aware of Australia’s biosecurity requirements when ordering items over the internet.
“Although items can be purchased freely online, it is the responsibility of the purchaser in Australia, to ensure items comply with Australia’s biosecurity laws,” Mr Chapman said.
“The best way to reduce delays and potential seizure of items is to refer to Australia’s biosecurity conditions before organising items to be sent or received by mail.”Information on what can and cannot be mailed to Australia.
DAFF has announced approximately $7.8 million in funding for applicants to operate a Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis for a period of four years, commencing 1 July 2013.
Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Policy, Dr Vanessa Findlay said the centre will play a key role in furthering Australia’s capabilities to analyse and manage potential risks to Australia’s biosecurity.
“It will allow researchers to identify and develop advanced risk analysis techniques and methods in line with the strategic objectives for Australia’s biosecurity system", said Dr Findlay.
The new centre will build on work conducted by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis (ACERA), whose methods and procedures for risk management have been adopted and utilised by the government and the wider community.
Submissions for applications are due by 15 June 2012. An information session will be held in Canberra for potential applicants on Monday, 30 April 2012. Further information is available on the DAFF website.
14 May 2012