Media Release

Australia’s biosecurity system ready for future challenges

​25 November 2014

A new CSIRO report released today highlights the importance of a strong, integrated and seamless biosecurity system to protect Australia from future threats to human, animal and plant health.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today welcomed the CSIRO report, Australia’s Biosecurity Future, which outlines how the biosecurity risks facing the nation could potentially change in the years ahead, and discusses some of the key local and global trends which will influence these risks.
“Many of the issues raised in this report are issues that both my department and I are already tackling—and as Minister I am committed to constantly improving Australia’s biosecurity system to meet both current and future biosecurity challenges head on,” Minister Joyce said.
“Australia’s biosecurity system focuses on targeting what matters most:  stopping the pests and diseases that can cause the most harm and economic devastation from entering Australia. We call this risk-based intervention and it involves working offshore, at the border, and within Australia, targeting risk where it is most effective to do so.
“The CSIRO report says we are ‘fortunate’ in Australia to be free of many pests and diseases, however I don’t see our enviable biosecurity status to be the result of fortune or good luck—rather it is the result of tens of thousands of people across the nation, in government, industry and the community, working together every day to ensure that Australia remains pest and disease free.
“In biosecurity luck only happens to those who plan and work hard and with effect.
“The CSIRO report emphasises one of my main beliefs around the biosecurity system—it’s a shared responsibility. We must all continue to work together—including government, industry, scientists, farmers and the wider Australian community. This shared responsibility is at the heart of our biosecurity system.”
Minister Joyce said that investing in Australia’s biosecurity system is an investment in Australia’s future.
“When I released the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper last month, I made it clear that biosecurity presented the greatest risk to the future of Australian agriculture, and that investment in our biosecurity should never be compromised—and I stand firmly by this,” Minister Joyce said.
“The CSIRO report, looking twenty-five years ahead, demonstrates how important the science behind biosecurity is—what I’ve been saying all along is that we have a robust science-based biosecurity system.
“As part of improving our biosecurity system, I will be introducing Biosecurity legislation into Parliament before the end of the year.
“The new legislation will provide for a strong and sustainable biosecurity system in any age, regardless of advances in transport and technology or future challenges.
“I’d like to thank the CSIRO and the industry research groups for their work on this important report and assure the Australian community that we have a robust and effective biosecurity system in place to protect us against potential threats both now and into the future.
“In Australia over the years we have remained free of bovine brucellosis, tuberculosis, foot and mouth, papaya fruit fly amongst a range of other insidious pests and diseases—this was not by luck,” Minister Joyce said today.