Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer (ACPPO), Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, is the primary representative of, and an advisor to, the Australian Government on all matters relating to Australia’s plant health status and its supporting systems.
From within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the ACPPO promotes a shared vision for plant health that protects and enhances Australia’s valuable plant resources and production capacity.
- protects the environment
- increases plant production efficiencies
- reduces plant pest pressures
- improves market access for plants and plant products.
The ACPPO is Australia’s official contact point for the International Plant Protection Convention.
Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith describes her journey on becoming the ACPPO and her vision for the role.
My name is Gabrielle Vivian-Smith and I’m the Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer and I’m an agricultural scientist; and I’m also a plant ecologist.
I work to protect Australia’s plant-based industries and also our plants in our natural environment from exotic and harmful plant pests and diseases.
I worked for quite a few years in the research world and much of that time I was working as an ecologist looking at plant ecosystems and trying to restore them, and also as a weed ecologist as well looking at invasive plant species.
Well, I’ve always been interested in plants, and I’ve worked in various capacities throughout my life on plants, pretty much the whole time, so it seemed like a very natural thing to do to become the Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer.
I work with people across the globe. Closer to home, I work with a whole bunch of interesting bug security specialists from plant pathologists to entomologists and all kinds of different specialised experts. I also work with other states and territories, their chief plant health managers, and representatives from plant industry bodies. And then internationally, I work with people like myself, so people who represent their national plant protection organisation, and we work on plant health standards, we work on implementing things that improve global plant health.
Australia has a really excellent biosecurity system and it also has that really inviable plant health status, so we’ve got something very precious; so what would it mean for Australia, it would mean that we would continue to be able to trade on our clean and green image, and it would help also keep Australia’s natural heritage, so some of our very special ecosystems from being damaged from exotic plant pests and diseases.
I hope to essentially help keep Australia safe, or Australian plants safe from plant pests and diseases. I really want to accomplish preventing plant pests and diseases from entering the country and from establishing and causing harm.
The Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer represents the Australian Government on plant health issues of national and international interest. The role provides leadership in the development of national plant health policy and provides high-level advice to senior executives and government.
The ACPPO works on activities that maintain our plant health status, including preparedness and response to plant health issues such as incursions of emergency plant pests. Much of this is done in partnership with state and territory governments, plant industries and Plant Health Australia, the not-for-profit national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia.
The ACPPO represents Australia in international plant health engagement including:
- International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) as Australia’s official contact point
- Commission of Phytosanitary Measures under the IPPC
- Plant Health Quadrilaterals (PH Quads)
- Quadrilaterals Collaboration Working Group (QCWG)
- International Year of Plant Health Steering Committee
- Euphresco Network
The ACPPO represents the Australian government in national arrangements for plant health including national committees, emergency response, industry-government partnerships and research and development, comprising of:
- National Biosecurity Committee (NBC)
- Plant Health Committee (PHC)
- Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) - Chair
- Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD)
- Biosecurity Research and Innovation Steering Committee
- National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee - Chair
- Plant health Australia (PHA) - member meetings
- Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDC)
- Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI).
Priorities for the ACCPO include:
- Create a shared vision for, and leadership of, plant health in Australia.
- Represent Australia in international plant health forums, such as:
- Represent Australian government in national plant health forums
- Lead the national response to emergency plant pests
- Lead the transitions of non-eradicable pests to ongoing management
- Provide expert advice on biosecurity risk assessments and plant health issues
- Deliver biosecurity R&D projects
- Coordinate data sharing requests
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