The first sod has turned on Australia’s future Post Entry Quarantine
1 May 2014
Joint media release
The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Minister for Agriculture
The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance
Work to build Australia's new Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility at a 144 hectare site in Mickleham, Victoria, started today.
The new facility will consolidate Australia's entire existing, Government-operated, animal and plant PEQ services into a single site that will start operations in 2015.
The new $379 million facility delivers a purpose built solution that is light-years ahead of the existing, ageing, facilities located in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide which will then be progressively decommissioned from 2015.
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, Michael McCormack, today visited the site and turned the first sod, announcing stage one of construction.
"This facility is an important component in protecting and maintaining Australia’s reputable biosecurity system," Minister Joyce said.
Minister Joyce said Post Entry Quarantine was necessary to manage risks posed by imported plant and animal genetic materials that provide our farmers with a range of new opportunities.
"Australia's $170 million strawberry industry is a good example of the opportunities imports of genetic material can present, as 90 per cent of strawberry varieties grown in Australia were bred by overseas researchers.
"To manage any risks that imported animals and high risk plants pose, such as new strawberry varieties, they are not released into Australia until they have fulfilled our biosecurity requirements that include a period of quarantine.
"Australia is free from many of the pests and diseases found in other parts of the world and we want to keep it this way – this modern facility will significantly enhance our capacity to manage the heightened risks posed by ever increasing amounts of new plant and animal material coming into Australia."
Minister Joyce also said that the Department of Agriculture had undertaken significant consultation on the design and development of the future post entry quarantine facility, with more than 80 stakeholder consultation and briefing sessions held throughout Australia.
Mr McCormack said the facility was a solid investment in protecting Australia whilst also increasing the productivity and competitiveness of our agricultural sector.
"Moving our quarantine operations to a single site supports greater efficiencies in operations," Mr McCormack said.
"It's close to the international airport, isolated from agricultural production areas and has been designed to manage climatic requirements of different plant species and animal welfare requirements.
"The new facility will incorporate efficient design and contemporary technology to support quarantine operations for many years into the future."
The Department of Finance is responsible for building the facility and will have ownership of it, with the Department of Agriculture operating it once completed.
**The sod-turning will commence at 4pm today at the site in Mickleham. For details on today’s event, please contact the Department of Agriculture on 02 6272 3232 or firstname.lastname@example.org**
For more information, including a 3D walkthrough of the new facility, visit daff.gov.au/biosecurity/quarantine/future-post-entry-quarantine-arrangements
For more information about consultation sessions, please visit daff.gov.au/biosecurity/quarantine/future-post-entry-quarantine-arrangements/consultation