A Shorten Labor Government will provide certainty for Australia’s biosecurity research sector by establishing a permanent Australian Institute for Biosecurity to manage the challenges of pest animals, weeds and plant disease incursions on the land and in our waterways and oceans.
Maintaining a strong biosecurity system is critical to ensuring the long-term health and productivity of Australia’s agricultural sector, animal industries and natural environment.
Australia has a strong record in biosecurity science and research, and it is vital that we maintain and build on this capability to meet future challenges.
Australia’s competitive advantage in the food sector relies heavily on our reputation as a provider of clean, green, safe and high quality produce. Protecting that reputation is an important economic priority, as is addressing the cost to farmers and graziers of tackling invasive weeds, animal pests and plant diseases.
Lost agricultural productivity and the cost of control measures for pest animals and weeds alone currently represents a $5 billion a year cost to the economy.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joel Fitzgibbon said we must build on the work of our Invasive Animals and Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centres.
“Australia needs certainty and continued advancement in tackling pests and diseases which impact on the sustainable productivity for our farmers,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
The Institute for Biosecurity will support sustainable research, development and extension projects and identify pathways to long-term strategic management beyond the current five to 10-year approach,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.
Labor’s candidate for Dawson, Frank Gilbert, said that wild pigs caused $7 million worth of damage to sugar cane crops in the region last year.
“The next generation feral pig bait HOG-GONE, which is in the final testing phase by the Invasive Animals CRC, is crucial to the toolkit for farmers to deal effectively with this pest,” Mr Gilbert said today.
“It is important that work like this by our CRCs is continued, and that we maintain and rebuild our research capacity in Australia.”
Labor’s Biosecurity Institute will benefit Australia’s primary producers by helping to protect our unique ecosystem, and by safeguarding our clean, green and safe reputation in overseas markets.
This mission-directed research institute will ensure that Australia is well prepared to address the emergence of new biosecurity risks as well as addressing the biosecurity threats that exist today.
For more information on Labor’s positive plan for an Australian Institute for Biosecurity visit: www.100positivepolicies.org.au/australian_institute_for_biosecurity_fact_sheet
THURSDAY, 23 JUNE 2016
 Invasive Animals CRC, http://www.invasiveanimals.com/about-us//; Department of Environment, Impact of Weeds, www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/weeds/why/impact.html