$379.9 million Post Entry Quarantine facility opens
26 October 2015
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, today officially opened Australia’s $379.9 million state-of-the-art Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility, demonstrating the government’s commitment to safeguarding the nation’s agriculture, environment and economy.
“The 144 hectare site is light-years ahead of existing ageing facilities—it’s more than five times the size of the largest facility in Australia,” Minister Joyce said.
“It helps to future-proof our farmers from the impacts of serious pests and diseases that could devastate our $52.8 billion agricultural industries—forecast to rise to $57 billion in 2015-16—as well as our unique environment, native flora and fauna, our tourism industries and our lifestyle.
“Biosecurity is the foundation that agricultural production is built on.
“The new PEQ reinforces our defences, with design featuring modern laboratories, cat and dog kennels with high standards of animal welfare, technically sophisticated design for the avian and plant compounds, horse compounds that provide greater flexibility, a high level of security and public zones for visitors.
“Importantly, the facility also has space for future growth.
“The PEQ helps safeguard our competitive edge in the global market where quality and safety brings a premium—our clean, green, pest and disease free reputation is one of the single greatest assets to agricultural exports, forecast to be worth $43.4 billion in 2015-16.
“It also helps maintain the competitiveness and productivity of Australian agribusiness through reducing biosecurity risks associated with importing new genetic material.
“Making sure Australia is free of many of the exotic pests and diseases prevalent in other countries can save farmers up to $17,500 per farm per year.
“The cost of not doing so is frightening—a foot and mouth disease outbreak could cost Australia around $50 billion over 10 years, according to ABARES analysis. It would devastate not just our cattle and sheep farmers, but our local communities and the abattoirs, trucking and transport industries, exporters and international markets that depend on those farms.
“Without an effective biosecurity system, cropping and livestock farmers would lose 7-15 per cent of their profits—and that’s probably conservative, because the modelling was based only on top-level threats and diseases.”
The new PEQ will consolidate Australia’s entire existing Government-operated animal and plant services into a single site in Mickleham, Victoria, close to a major international airport.
The facility is already capable of taking in bees with animals and plants to follow later this year—along with a new online reservation, booking and payment system.