Biosecurity is a general description for a series of measures designed to protect individual farming properties, businesses and the nation as a whole, from the entry and spread of exotic pests. This is done by using exclusion, eradication and control measures.
As an island continent, Australia has remained relatively safe from the serious plant pests including insects, diseases and weeds, which are found elsewhere in the world. This benefits plant industries, including the vegetable industry, by giving growers a valuable competitive advantage in terms of securing market access and maintaining reduced production costs.
Effective pest management is essential in protecting Australia’s economy. Exotic pests could cost the industry millions of dollars through job losses, reduced export opportunities and increased control costs. The current level of strict quarantine is an essential part of protecting Australia’s vegetable industry from new pests. However, these measures will not provide total protection but should provide industries with enough time to develop control measures.
The potential for natural incursions from near neighbours and increasing international movement of passengers, cargo and mail is an ongoing threat to Australia’s favourable plant health status. Plant Health Australia (PHA) is working with AUSVEG, Horticulture Australia, representatives from the federal, state and territory governments and other experts to develop national biosecurity plans for the vegetable and potato industries.