Industry Sharing the Biosecurity Responsibility

The Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ) and Biosecurity Queensland will participate in a trial of an industry developed on-farm biosecurity program to meet interstate market access requirements with Victoria. The trial will begin on Monday 21st October with two production nurseries in each of two states (Queensland & Victoria) operating their interstate trade under robust on-farm plant pest and disease management procedures. The on-farm procedures are supported by a web based electronic verification and certification system supervised by regulatory agencies in both jurisdictions.

Industry Development Manager, John McDonald said: “This trial is a national industry initiative driven by Queensland’s peak industry body, NGIQ, with support from Biosecurity Queensland staff and our national body NGIA. It has taken more than 5 years of interstate negotiations and industry program development to get to this point with industry R&D investment running at more than $350 000 to date.” He further said: “Costs associated with interstate market access are increasing constantly with some businesses having annual bills above $100 000. Added to the dynamic markets growers are operating within it is imperative an interstate market access system is available that offers recognition of on-farm best management practice and grower skills, is flexible for growers, utilises technology and is cost effective.”

BioSecure HACCP is the first industry developed on-farm biosecurity program in Australia to be used as a legally approved market access instrument allowing Queensland growers to trade with Victorian clients and vice versa. Two production nurseries in both Queensland and Victoria have gained BioSecure HACCP compliance certification and will trade with their interstate clients under the trial model. The trial will test the effectiveness of this on-farm biosecurity program as well as the innovative web based electronic certification system which, again, is a first for the Australian domestic quarantine and market access system.

President of NGIQ Paul Lancaster said: “A paradigm shift exists along the domestic biosecurity continuum with industry taking a greater lead in areas of biosecurity traditionally seen as government responsibilities and activities. Add this to advances in plant production, technology and grower skills it is inevitable that the next step is industry taking responsibility for the key area of market access which has a significant impact on business sustainability.”

The benefits of an on-farm biosecurity program gaining legal status for interstate market access are multiple and across all stakeholders including government and industry alike. Producers benefit from a system developed for industry, by industry, that integrates all plant health issues into a farm management system that addresses both endemic and exotic plant pest threats and risk mitigation. There are significant cost savings in labour, cropping inputs and efficiency gains in administration that support the value of the program. Government benefits through a greater engagement by industry in managing biosecurity threats, efficiency in technology adoption and auditing, real time information access and traceability of produce.

Upon the completion of a successful trial period the program will be opened up to other production nurseries in Queensland and interstate as well as the regulators in the remaining states and territories of Australia.

 

For further information:

John McDonald – Industry Development Manager Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland

Ph: 07 3277 7900 Mob: 0419 683 457