Plant Innovation Centre to grow Australia’s biosecurity capacity

A new Plant Innovation Centre (PIC) was launched at the Mickleham Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility today, which will improve the nation’s capacity for addressing current and future plant biosecurity risks.

Head of Biosecurity Plant Division with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Marion Healy, said the new centre will ensure Australia continues to have modern and effective plant biosecurity systems in place.

“The global operating environment is changing and we expect the number of passengers, shipping and containerised cargo arrivals to nearly double by 2025,” Dr Healy said.

“To ensure we can continue managing the risk of biosecurity pests and diseases arriving in Australia, we need to identify and apply innovative approaches to our work.

“Known as the PIC@PEQ, this new centre will help strengthen our biosecurity system to safeguard our environment and $60 billion agriculture industries from biosecurity risks.

“It will progress a range of projects focused on improving Australia’s plant biosecurity measures into the future.

“This includes investigations of mobile applications for front line inspectors to conduct plant diagnostics, and more efficient and effective diagnostic platforms, such as next generation sequencing.

“The centre will also progress improved treatments to help us manage some of the most significant plant pests for Australia, including Xylella Fastidiosa, which is our number one priority plant pest.”

The PIC@PEQ team will include departmental scientists who will collaborate with a range of external scientists and biosecurity stakeholders to deliver the agreed projects.

The new centre will be overseen by a steering board who will determine priority operational projects based on key operational challenges.

The centre was launched at Mickleham PEQ facility today, with government agencies, industry, educational institutions and researchers in attendance.

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