Government reaffirms commitment to science-based biosecurity
20 August 2015
The Australian Government today released its response to the Senate Committee report on import risk analyses (IRAs) conducted for pineapples from Malaysia, ginger from Fiji and potatoes from New Zealand.
The Senate report made a number of recommendations in response to issues raised about the science based Import Risk Analysis process and appeal mechanisms relating to these three commodities and the government has agreed to, agreed in principle or noted a majority of the recommendations.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the government was committed to rigorous, objective and science-based decision making to manage the biosecurity risks of importing plant and animal material.
"The Australian Government has carefully considered the report and agreed to implement most of the recommendations," Minister Joyce said.
"Additionally, several of the recommendations made by the Senate Committee have been addressed through a separate examination of the IRA process, the outcomes of which were released on 31 July this year.
Minister Joyce said that the Coalition developed its election commitment to carry out an examination of the IRA process as a whole in response to significant stakeholder concerns about the three particular IRAs that were the subject of this Senate inquiry.
"While it is a robust and meticulous scientific process, no system is above improvements and review. I am confident that the recommendations of the IRA Examination, as well as the government's response to this Senate inquiry report, will deliver substantial improvements to the IRA framework.
"Today's response demonstrates the Australian Government's strong commitment to continually improve the way we protect our biosecurity status, maintain our competitiveness and facilitate two-way trade with our trading partners.
"Protecting Australia's agricultural industries, environment and economy from harmful pests and diseases not present in Australia is critically important, and we take that job very seriously.
"IRAs are based on the best available science and risk analysis, and consider a range of factors to manage the biosecurity risk associated with imports appropriately.
"Our robust biosecurity system safeguards our favourable animal and plant health status and underpins our international market access and domestic productivity—so it's vital that we get it right."
To read the full Australian Government response, visit agriculture.gov.au/about/obligations/government-responses.