Australia invests in Papua New Guinea to protect biosecurity

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt

Assistant Minister for Trade, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing, Senator Tim Ayres

The Australian Government is providing $3.5 million to further strengthen Papua New Guinea’s exotic animal disease detection and surveillance capability and protect Australia from diseases like lumpy skin disease (LSD) and foot and mouth disease.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt made the announcement during his visit to Papua New Guinea, saying that the investment was part of the government’s broader agenda to invest in regional biosecurity, which includes closer collaboration and cooperation with its nearest neighbours.

“Australia’s biosecurity system is world renowned,” Minister Watt said.

“We are determined to keep our country free of exotic pests and diseases that could devastate our $81 billion agriculture sector and the industries on which it relies.

“Australia has a long history of collaboration with Papua New Guinea, and this latest investment in biosecurity protection is another extension of this productive relationship.

Minister Watt said by strengthening our region, we also protect our home.

“Collaborations like this helps to create a more robust biosecurity system for the entire region, preserving food security and market access opportunities for our partner countries as well as supporting preparedness activities in Australia.

“This funding will go toward a range of measures including establishing a dedicated diagnostic testing lab for the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA), taking the pressure off Papua New Guinea’s Institute of Medical Research and complementing existing Australian biosecurity investments.

“Strengthening Papua New Guinea’s detection capability will ensure they are more competitive in accessing global markets for their agricultural products, something we look forward to helping them achieve.”

A further investment will be made to partner with PNG and boost institutional and border biosecurity capacity to reduce the risk of animal and plant pests and diseases entering and establishing in the country.

A three-year biosecurity twinning program will be co-designed in partnership between NAQIA and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Assistant Minister for Trade Tim Ayres said that these investments represent Australia’s appreciation of neighbouring countries in the region.

“Our strong partnerships with countries such as Papua New Guinea help us in many ways – in trade, in security, in protecting our agriculture industry and unique environment,” Assistant Minister Ayres said.

“This latest investment is one more way we are working to ensure our biosecurity system continues to protect the prosperity of our farmers, producers, and rural communities.”

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has a decades long history collaborating with Papua New Guinea and providing technical and operational support to assist their work in combatting livestock diseases.

This includes personnel and logistics support for the distribution of vaccines, along with testing and epidemiological work.

In 2024 the Australian Government has sponsored delegates from Papua New Guinea, to attend major national plant health workshops.

Australia continually collaborates with Papua New Guinea on joint biosecurity programs such as:

1. The Treaty Village Fruit Fly Trapping Program

2. The development of risk assessments and risk assessment training

3. Health surveys to enhance plant and animal health.

4. Inclusion of PNG in Australia’s regional LSD vaccine supply arrangement, which will ensure there is rapid access to an initial supply of quality LSD vaccines for a disease response should this be required in the future.

5. Supporting PNG’s response to African swine fever

6. Development and implementation of an electronic Animal Health Information System

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