Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has backed comments made by her New South Wales counterpart calling for immediate Federal Government action on international biosecurity.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, from the National Party, has expressed concern that the Federal Government is putting the agriculture industry at risk by abrogating its responsibility for protecting Australia from international plant and animal pests.
Western Australia has been required to respond to a number of international biosecurity threats over the past four years, which have largely arrived through ports – and are the responsibility of the Federal Government.
These have included the tomato potato psyllid, brown marmorated stink bug, red imported fire ant and fall armyworm.
Ms MacTiernan will pursue the issue with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud at an Agriculture Ministers’ teleconference to be held tomorrow (December 3).
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Plant and animal pest incursions are a major threat to our agricultural industry, putting the livelihood of our farmers – who primarily rely on exports – at risk.
“While the State is responsible for interstate biosecurity at our domestic airports and land borders, biosecurity at our international ports and airports is the responsibility of the Federal Government – and they have dropped the ball.
“We are seeing regular and potentially devastating outbreaks of pests across the country, most of which are arriving via our ports.
“The Federal Government abandoned the onshore biosecurity levy and has failed to invest in strengthening our borders against biosecurity threats, leaving WA farmers the victims.
“I look forward to joining my State and Territory counterparts prosecuting this issue with the Federal Government at tomorrow’s Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting.”