7 March 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has today welcomed a report on the progress of Gillard Government reforms to Australia’s biosecurity system.
The Reform of Australia’s Biosecurity System report, released to coincide with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Outlook conference, details the work being done to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system since the 2008 Beale Review.
Minister Ludwig said the reforms were delivering a modern and responsive system that facilitates trade and manages biosecurity risks.
“A strong science-based biosecurity system is vital to protect our agricultural sector from pest and disease and retain Australia’s reputation as a clean and wholesome supplier of food,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Our biosecurity system also needs to meet the growing demand for imports and support expanded market access for Australia’s $35 billion agricultural export industry.
“Australia is implementing a modern biosecurity system that works offshore to stop pests and diseases reaching our shores, at the border to stop pests and diseases passing through, and on-shore to minimise the impacts of pests and diseases on our productivity and environment.”
Initial moves towards a risk return model, as recommended by the Beale Review One Biosecurity: a Working Partnership, have also resulted in productivity improvements at the border including:
“These productivity improvements confirm industry estimates that the Howard Government’s mandatory intervention targets, which were not based on science, had increased the regulatory burden at the border by $1 billion between 2001 and 2008,” Minister Ludwig said.
Minister Ludwig said a working partnership with state and territories is critical to improved biosecurity outcomes.
One of the key outcomes referenced in today’s report is the finalisation of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Biosecurity signed by the Prime Minister earlier this year,” he said.
“The next challenge will be replacing the century-old Quarantine Act with modern legislation, which will require the goodwill of the Australian Parliament.”
Available on the DAFF website is the Reform of Australia’s Biosecurity System report.