NEW Plant Industries Biosecurity Committee

Thursday, 29 July 2021

A new national plant biosecurity committee has been formed to drive formal processes which enable plant industries to act collectively on mutual biosecurity opportunities and concerns.

Initiated by Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) and supported through Plant Health Australia’s, Plant Industry Forum, the Plant Industries Biosecurity Committee (PIBC) has been formed to build the collective representative capacity of plant industries in a formal structure from which to engage within Australia’s domestic plant biosecurity system.

Supported by Plant Health Australia (PHA) and other plant industry bodies, the committee consists of a range of experienced plant industry representatives, and a PHA staff member (ex officio), who have experience in responding to emergency plant pests, supporting market access, trade exposure and general plant biosecurity policy.

The committee is now tasked with identifying and prioritising plant biosecurity capacity and capability issues within the Australian biosecurity system with an emphasis on the domestic plant biosecurity continuum.

The objectives of the PIBC will be completed through:

  • Shared responsibility along the biosecurity continuum
  • Providing a collective plant industry voice into the domestic biosecurity system
  • Engaging national Plant Health Committee to strive towards a harmonised, transparent, and equitable biosecurity system
  • Encouraging risk-based decision making and delivery of appropriate outcomes by the committee’s/groups functioning within the plant biosecurity system
  • Market access based on the technical justification and least trade restrictive conditions and a commitment to business continuity
  • Focus industry and regulatory bodies on the commonality of purpose across Australia.

At the 59th Plant Health Committee meeting on Tuesday, 27 July, a paper seeking to establish formal links between PIBC and the Plant Health Committee was presented by PIBC Chair John McDonald, which outlined 10 key policy areas of focus. These include:

  • Capacity and capability along the biosecurity continuum
  • RD&E opportunities and gaps
  • Transparent dialogue between government and industry partnership
  • Approaches to incentivise, value, recognise, etc., grower adoption of high health practices
  • Harmonisation of legislation, movement conditions and compliance
  • National Pest Risk Analysis Framework agreed by jurisdictions
  • Implementation of a Pest Risk Analysis Network
  • Education, appointments, and supervision of biosecurity personnel
  • Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity outcomes
  • National plant biosecurity dispute resolution process.

The PIBC will provide a way for the Plant Industries Forum to engage and contribute to the Australian domestic plant biosecurity system, bolstering Australia’s plant industry’s defence to biosecurity incursions.

This news will ensure that growers are represented through the collective voice of the committee at regulatory, technical, and operational levels allowing for greater representation of industry.

For further information, please contact National Biosecurity Manager, John McDonald at

The ‘National biosecurity and sustainable plant production program’ (NY20001) project is funded by Hort Innovation using nursery research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government.