A new report from the NSW Government is welcome news for farmers with a 20 per cent lift in biosecurity management plans.
The latest State of Biosecurity Report from NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders shows nearly 70 per cent of farms have a current biosecurity plan in place, and more than 950,000 diagnostic tests delivered to support biosecurity surveillance.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said biosecurity threats were an ever-present danger for agriculture, threatening market access and economic disaster.
“Just recently we saw the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, which if it reached our shores would devastate not just farmers but the entire economy,” Mr Jackson said.
“We’re also keeping a close eye on Lumpy Skin Disease, another serious threat.
“It’s just so pleasing to see farmers and the broader community taking biosecurity seriously.”
Biosecurity Management Plans were designed to prevent, eliminate, and minimise the biosecurity risks posed by people entering farms, and failure to comply with these arrangements can lead to an on-the-spot fine of $1000 or a court-ordered fine of $220,000 for individuals and $440,000 for corporations. Mr Jackson said these plans were critical because Australia had long enjoyed a reputation for high-quality, safe, and disease-free food and fibre as an isolated island nation, but he warned constant surveillance and vigilance was also needed.
“It’s great to see the NSW Government’s commitment to biosecurity in this report, and we welcome it,” Mr Jackson said.
“This report shows we are improving biosecurity arrangements at both a state and federal level, but recognises the risks are rising too.
“Ultimately farms equal food, so it’s in all our interests to keep Australia disease-free.”