During Question Time today, the Agriculture Minister passed on the opportunity to deny the Government plans to abolish the position of Inspector-General for Biosecurity.

The statutory and independent Inspector-General for Biosecurity established by Labor in office would have broad audit and review powers to look at our biosecurity processes.

Barnaby Joyce made no attempt to hide that the Inspector General’s role and powers will not be retained under his Biosecurity Bills currently before the Parliament.

It’s not too late to backflip on this seriously flawed move.

Labor’s interim Inspector-General and all his powers and independence remain in place until 30 June 2015.  The interim Inspector-General has conducted no less than 23 inquiries and has 9 reviews underway into biosecurity processes.

Labor will assist in progressing an amendment to the Biosecurity Bills through the Parliament quickly that retains this vitally important function.

Given the berry contamination crisis, Australians deserve assurance our biosecurity is the best it possibly can be.

We need an independent Inspector-General as the last line of defence to ensure it is.

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  • Gillian Quinn
    commented 2015-02-25 15:08:06 +1100
    I would think that the outbreak of disease affecting bananas in North Australia would be more the province of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity, rather than the berries which are the responsibility of the Health Departments and FSANZ. However keeping our Food crops free of disease and contamination is very important to our clean and green export image. Other countries buy Australian food because it is clean and free of disease. It is so important to keep pests and diseases OUT and many Australians risk their introduction through ignorance or selfishness.