Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable 4 July 2018
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, July 2018
|Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable Report - 4 July 2018, Perth PDF||15||4.3 MB|
If you have difficulty accessing this file, please visit web accessibility.
The 2018 Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable was held in Perth on 4 July 2018.
What we heard from participants
- Need for industry engagement from day one of an incursion
- National perspective to response, as pests do not recognise borders
- Need to ensure a continuing supply of relevant scientific specialists into the future
- Continuing need to reassess the biosecurity risks Australia faces from neighbouring countries
The event was hosted by the National Biosecurity Committee together with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).
The 2018 Biosecurity Roundtable Program
The Biosecurity Roundtable Program consists of seven biosecurity roundtables in each state and territory (NSW and ACT are combined), two environmental biosecurity roundtables and a National Biosecurity Forum at the end of the year.
These events are an opportunity for biosecurity stakeholders to talk about biosecurity issues directly with Australian and state/territory government representatives, a wide range of industry members and producers together with environmental and community groups.
This year the theme for the program is ‘preparedness and response’, with activities on the day designed to seek input on:
- preparedness and response arrangements across a range of biosecurity activities
- gaps and possible solutions
- roles and responsibilities in preparedness and response
- successes and lessons learned
- trusted sources of information on biosecurity
Amber Parr, Director, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources opened the roundtable, outlining the day’s focus on participation and opportunities to meet colleagues across industry, community and government.
Dean Merrilees, Assistant Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources delivered the Commonwealth Update. Mr Merrilees emphasised the benefits of working together to maintain Australia’s world class biosecurity system, which is worth an estimated $17,500 a year to the average farm.
Mr Merrilees provided details about the Australian Government’s commitment of $313 million to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity capacity and highlighted key activities occurring across Commonwealth, state and territory governments in response to the Priorities for Australia’s Biosecurity system review report (2017) through activities such as:
- setting national priorities for biosecurity research and development.
- drafting a revised Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity and priority reform areas for Agricultural Ministers' consideration.
- finalisation of emergency response deeds for aquatic animals and exotic production weeds.
- supporting the industry and community-led development of a National Biosecurity Statement.
- developing a National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests and Diseases
- establishment of Industry and Community Reference Group under the National Biosecurity Committee.
- introduction of the 'Biosecurity Matters' website, and distribution of public engagement material featuring 'Jeff'.
Heather Brayford, Deputy Director General, DPIRD provided the Western Australia state update, noting that the DPIRD was formed only a year ago, bringing together three former departments. Ms Brayford highlighted the achievements of the new department with its key goals of ‘Protect, Grow and Innovate’ with biosecurity a key strategic priority. An example of this is the Boosting Biosecurity Defences program aimed at building capacity and improving preparedness and response.
In 2017/18, DPIRD managed four biosecurity incidents including citrus canker, brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB), two incidents of Queensland fruit fly (QFF) with an additional 18 response and management plans in place. Surveillance programs are also in place for Johne’s disease and Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso).
Ms Brayford discussed the current areas of focus for DPIRD and the importance of developing key areas that include:
- skills and capacity building
- traceability across livestock, plant and aquatic production
- prioritisation of industry and community needs
- a consistent approach to prioritisation and investment across the system
- environmental biosecurity
- delivering growth and innovation in partnership with industry and community.
DPIRD has identified future opportunities to improve industry engagement and planning/prioritisation mechanisms, and environmental biosecurity work across governments and community. Thirteen Recognised Biosecurity Groups have been formed across Western Australia and more will be coming on-stream.
Ms Brayford noted opportunities also exist to review capacity and capability during and after major incidents, and to gain leverage using shared aquatic and terrestrial experience and information.
Sustaining a biosecurity response and its impacts
Simon McKirdy, Chairperson, Western Australia Biosecurity Council, introduced the role of the Western Australia Biosecurity Council under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (WA) as a specialist advisory group to the Minister for Agriculture and Food and the Director General of DPIRD. This includes advice to the Minister on how the DPIRD can sustain a high level biosecurity response while retaining the integrity of its budget and other functions.
The Biosecurity Council has developed a discussion paper which provided industry with the opportunity to identify any gaps and give general feedback. Thirteen key elements of an effective ‘combat agency’ were identified by the Biosecurity Council. This has received strong support from industry, who identified as key points:
- cost-sharing should encompass not only biosecurity responses but also planning, capacity building and costs across supply chains.
- need to understand the capacity and capability of industry to engage with government on emergency response.
- value of industry knowledge and experience needs to be acknowledged where industry brings practical on-ground experience and advice.
- the term ‘industry’ must encompass the full supply chain.
How do the emergency response deeds work?
Claire Hollis, Assistant Director, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources provided an overview of Australia’s national emergency response deeds and agreements, which include the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA), the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) and the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA). Ms Hollis explained the purpose of the deeds, the triggers and decision making processes, and the ability for industries to access response funds under the deeds and reimburse the Commonwealth Government through levies over time. The national deeds/agreements complement industry and state arrangements as they are only activated in circumstances where eradication of a pest or disease is:
- technically feasible
- cost beneficial, and
- in the national interest
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is currently leading development of an Exotic Production Weed Deed and Aquatic Animal Deed.
National Biosecurity Statement
Western Australia’s National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) representative and acting Executive Director of Biosecurity, Mia Carbon, introduced the National Biosecurity Statement, which is being developed with industry, environmental and community groups and the public.
Ms Carbon confirmed the national biosecurity statement was intended to foster community wide understanding and ownership of Australia’s biosecurity system, providing a common understanding, shared goals, principles, roles and responsibilities, and clearer accountability.
Ms Carbon then led table based exercises on the roles and responsibilities component of the statement. She asked participants to discuss their roles in the biosecurity system and in improving its efficiency, the concept of stewardship, the roles and responsibilities of major institutions, the benefits of an agreed set of roles and responsibilities for system participants and how we can measure if they are meeting these obligations.
Feedback on the draft statement was positive on the day, with suggestions including: more emphasis on the ‘shared responsibility’ theme, how to use various mediums to promote the statement and the importance of direct language to engage the reader. Improving biosecurity education, using biosecurity champions and improving communication channels were common topics for discussion.
Public consultation on the National Biosecurity Statement is now open via Have Your Say on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ website – see below for further information on how you can get involved.
Preparedness and response
Amber Parr, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, facilitated a workshop to discuss, share and analyse preparedness and response knowledge across the biosecurity space.
Table groups considered a specific topic—anticipate, prevent, prepare, detect, respond or recover/adapt—identifying and discussing activities, roles and processes currently in place as well as emerging issues. They then identified six key activities, plans or policies to the broader group.
The figure below shows, by topic and responsible sector, all the activities, plans or policies participants noted. In some cases, the same point repeats across sectors as the responsibility was seen as shared. If no activities, plans or policies were recorded for a sector, it is shown as blank.
This snapshot is not necessarily representative of biosecurity knowledge in Western Australia. It does show that participants see the state government as the central agency and point of contact for biosecurity knowledge, response planning, detection and response to an incursion, although producers and industry bodies recognised their vital roles. Industry bodies in particular, were seen to be delivering nuanced content and programs to their members.
Community groups, the general public, environmental groups and research groups appear to be either underutilised or under-represented as active system participants. Alternatively, the roles of these groups were poorly understood or recognised by those in the room. This theme will be discussed further at the National Biosecurity Forum.
The discussions and notes from the workshop are expected to assist in the development of policy and resources, improve the understanding of other sectors’ roles and support the maturity of the response to the public consultation around the national biosecurity statement.
Panel: Roles and responsibilities
Chaired by Amber Parr, the panel comprised of Robyn Martin, Assistant Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Mia Carbon, Acting Executive Director of Biosecurity DPIRD, Simon McKirdy, Director of the Harry Butler Institute within Research and Innovation, Murdoch University and Wayne Ridley representing APC Beekeepers Producers’ Committee, who gave short presentations on their roles and responsibilities as well as overviews on current biosecurity activity. The panel session was then opened to questions and comments from the floor.
The first question was about the general level of succession planning in place to maintain a core knowledge of taxonomy. Mr McKirdy acknowledged that there has been a reduction in the interest and availability of specialist degrees such as entomology and plant pathology as universities focus on demand, not building capacity. He suggested there needs to be a strategy to increase uptake and availability of these courses, potentially through industry investment and support. Ms Carbon said that this issue has been recognised by the NBC and they were working to help address it in Western Australia through a range of activities including collaboration with overseas institutions. Ms Martin agreed Australia is strengthening links with overseas experts to address any gaps but acknowledged it was important to maintain a core capability. The floor noted that WA Farmers were in the process of setting up a ‘Livestock Institute’, which it is hoped will take the lead in addressing this issue.
It was raised that biosecurity engagement could be broadened across the supply-chain, including partnering with major supermarkets to deliver biosecurity messaging to the community. Ms Martin agreed this could be an opportunity but that any messaging would need to be consistent. Ms Carbon mentioned that the NBC was developing a package of materials for children to be distributed at royal shows
A question was asked regarding the progress of implementing recommendations from the Inspector General of Biosecurity’s Uncooked prawn imports report, including if there was an adequate amount of biosecurity inspectors. Mr Merrilees and Ms Martin advised that the recommendations are being implemented and that additional measures have been put in place including new requirements for breaded/battered and marinated prawns.
In response to the ABC’s Four Corners program, Mr Merrilees wanted to clarify that to date there had been no detections of live White spot syndrome virus in supermarkets. He noted it was an important to make a distinction between finding the live virus and traces of virus DNA. As a result of the incursion, the department is increasing its supply chain surveillance capabilities and strengthening its data analysis targeting all biosecurity threats. Additional information is available on the department’s website.
More information was requested about the WA Biosecurity Council’s ‘biosecurity scorecard’ project. Mr McKirdy responded, stating that the project came out of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis’s work on the health of the biosecurity system. The goal of the project is to produce a scorecard for industry or governments to ‘self assess’ their biosecurity status.
The relationship between environmental biosecurity and biodiversity was raised, with the emphasis on needing to have more of a conversation about the issue. Ms Parr responded saying that there are increasing resources allocated to environmental biosecurity, pointing to the recent announcement of a Chief Environmental Biosecurity Protection Officer and associated staff funding. Engagement is also increasing through the biannual Environmental Biosecurity roundtables that have been held for the last three years.
A question was asked on whether it was worth the ‘risk’ to import bee semen. Ms Martin responded by saying that Australia uses quantitative risk analysis and when considering impacts also looks at what measures can be put in place to keep the risk low, noting that our Appropriate Level of Protection requirement is ‘very low’. Ms Martin used the White spot syndrome virus as an example of an incursion occurring due to a deliberate act of non-compliance and it should not be compared with compliant imports. She went on to say that a biosecurity system open to trade can never have ‘zero risk’, which is why we need to have good systems in place for preparedness and response, equipped to detect, contain and eradicate an incursion.
The panel was asked if there were three key findings from recent incursion experiences that Western Australia could use to improve response to such incidents in the future. Ms Carbon said the three key things were: industry engagement from day one; a national perspective to response, as pests do not recognise borders; and the need to always work on finding new ways of doing things, including the use of technologies and citizen science. Ms Carbon added that NBC has recognised the need for national ‘centres of excellence’ to operate across the country, rather than expecting each jurisdiction to have a full complement of skills and knowledge.
A question regarding the possible impacts from regular use of methyl bromide and other chemicals to treat produce was raised. Mr David Ironside, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, noted from the floor the government does look for alternatives to methyl bromide, when available, and provided an example of the successful use of steam in treating mosquito larvae in oversize tyres imported for the mining industry. Ms Carbon acknowledged that the question was largely outside the technical expertise of the panel, but confirmed even in biosecurity responses governments are required to use chemicals according to the labels and relevant regulations. Another question about methyl bromide was whether the Australian Government has any audit processes to ensure that exporting countries are treating effectively. Mr Merrilees said that there is an Australian Fumigation Accreditation Scheme that manages the risk of ineffective fumigation treatments performed offshore.
Closing remarks were provided by Ms Parr who thanked all attendees on behalf of the DPIRD and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the NBC for their time, engagement and ideas. Ms Parr encouraged participants to contact the Biosecurity Roundtable secretariat if they required any further information, templates for the Biosecurity Information Survey or the National Biosecurity Statement worksheets. Contact details are Biosecurity Roundtable or phone 1800 068 468.
Biosecurity Information Survey
Thank you to participants who completed the biosecurity information survey.
Initial analysis of the completed surveys highlights the primary role of industry groups or associations and the state and federal governments as sources of biosecurity information. Twenty-three per cent of respondents access information through face to face contact, with twenty-two per cent via emails or newsletters, seventeen per cent at seminars/meetings and fourteen per cent via websites.
During discussions, participants highlighted several biosecurity awareness campaigns they thought were successful: the phytophthora biosecurity hygiene campaign, MyPestGuide app, a saleyards foot and mouth campaign, the Western Australian grey nomad’s campaign, ‘Don’t dump that fish’ and the ‘biosecurity blitz’ pantry campaign.
The phytophthora campaign was seen as particularly successful. This has now delivered a four hour training session to over 750 people across local government, apiarists and Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups, providing an understanding of the whole biosecurity spectrum and behaviour change. Participants pay a fee to undertake the training and it was felt this model could be used to deliver other significant biosecurity information and training.
Full results will be reported on at the National Biosecurity Forum in November 2018.
The survey is available for organisations or industry bodies to run with their own members – please contact the Biosecurity Roundtable Secretariat and we will email templates to you Biosecurity Roundtable or phone 1800 068 468
Invitations were sent to 150 organisations, groups or individuals (excluding state and Commonwealth government staff), with 34 participants (in bold) taking part in the roundtable, representing a wide range of organisations including:
- Agricultural Produce Commission
- AHR Schmidt
- Allegro - Australian Frozen meat exporters
- Animal Health Australia
- APC Beekeepers Producers' Committee
- APC Carnarvon Banana Producers Committee
- APC Pome Citrus and Stone Fruit Producers' Committee
- APC Pork Producers' Committee
- APC Potato Producers' Committee
- APC Stonefruit Committee
- APC Strawberry Producers' Committee
- APC Table Grape Producers' Committee
- APC Vegetable Producers' Committee
- Aquaculture Council of Western Australia
- Atron Enterprises
- Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd
- Austral Pacific Exporters
- Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Ltd
- Australian Meat Industry Council - WA branch
- Australian Veterinary Association
- Avocado Producers Committee
- Bee Industry Council of Western Australia
- Bell vista fruit and vegetable co pty ltd
- Biosecurity Council WA
- Boating Industry Association of Western Australia
- Brownes Dairy
- Bunge Grain Services (Bunbury) Pty Ltd
- Carnarvon Rangelands Biosecurity Association Inc
- Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Committee
- Cattle Industry Management Committee
- CBH Group
- Central Pacific Livestock
- Centre West Exports
- Challenger TAFE WA
- Chevron Australia
- City of Stirling
- Cockatoo Chaos
- Commercial Egg Producers Association WA
- Conservation Council of WA
- Curtin University
- Dieback Working Group
- Eastern Wheatbelt Biosecurity Group
- Emmanuel Exports
- Environmental Consultants Association (WA)
- Environmental Defenders Office WA
- Forest Industries Federation WA
- Freight and Logistics Council WA
- Fruit West Co-operative
- Golden Eggs
- Goldfields-Nullarbor Rangelands Biosecurity Association Inc
- Grain Industry Association of Western Australia
- Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme Committee
- Grape Growers Association
- Halleen Australasian Livestock Traders Pty Ltd
- Harmony Agriculture and Food Co
- Harry Butler Institute within Research and Innovation, Murdoch University
- Hills Orchard Improvement Group Inc
- Hort Innovation
- Ivankovich farms
- Kimberley Rangelands Biosecurity Association Inc
- Landcare Australia
- Leave No Trace Australia Ltd
- Livestock Biosecurity Network
- Livestock Shipping Services
- Marine Fishfarmers Assocation
- Max Employment
- Meat & Livestock Australia
- Meekatharra Rangeland Biosecurity Group Inc
- Mundella Foods
- Network of Concerned Farmers
- Ningaloo Environmental Assistance Program
- Northern Agricultural Catchment Council (NACC)
- NRM WA
- Nursery and Garden Industry Australia
- Nursery and Garden Industry WA
- Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia
- Patane Produce
- Patane Produce (WA) Pty Ltd
- Pearl Producers Association/ National Aquaculture Council
- Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
- Perth Cichlid Society
- Perth Region NRM
- Perth Zoo
- Pilbara Ports Authority
- Pilbara Regional Biosecurity Group Inc
- Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre
- Plant Health Australia
- Ports WA Environmental Working Group
- Primaries livestock agents
- Primaries WA
- Rangelands NRM Western Australia
- South Coast NRM
- South West Catchments Council
- Southern Ports Authority
- Springhill Orchard
- Strawberry Growers Association of WA
- Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA
- Sunny Valley Vineyard
- Swan River Trust (DPAW)
- Table Grapes WA Inc.
- Terrestrial Ecosystems
- Ti Produce Marketing Pty Ltd
- Tourism Council Western Australia
- Tourism WA
- Truffle and Wine Company
- Vegetables WA
- Voyager Estate
- WA Citrus
- WA Farmers Federation
- Warren Catchment Council
- Wellard Rural Exports
- West Australian Pork Producers Association
- West Coast Eggs Pty Ltd
- Western Australia Apiarist Society Inc
- Western Australia Beekeepers' Association
- Western Australia Broiler Growers Association
- Western Australia Chicken Meat Association
- Western Australia Farmers Dairy Council
- Western Australia Livestock Exporters Association
- Western Australia Lot Feeders Association
- Western Australia Meat Industry Authority
- Western Australia Pork Producers Association of WA
- Western Australia Stock Feed Manufacturers Council of Australia
- Western Australia Water Corporation
- Western Australian Farmers Federation
- Western Australian Fishing Industry Council
- Western Australian Local Government Association
- Western Australian No-Tillage Famers Association
- Western Australian Olive Council
- Western Rock Lobster Council
- Westpork Pty Ltd
- Wheatbelt NRM
- Wildlife Health Australia
- Wines of Western Australia
- Woodside Energy
Consultation is now open on the National Biosecurity Statement
A draft National Biosecurity Statement is available for public consultation on the Have Your Say platform on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.
Stakeholder feedback is vital to producing a National Biosecurity Statement that we can all hold up as core to our mutual commitment to a national biosecurity system.
Feedback on the statement is welcome at any time throughout the process. We welcome organisations and communities undertaking their own consultation internally and reporting back their findings for consideration. To assist in this process, the department has developed a consultation toolkit, which is available electronically to those interested. Feedback can also be sent directly to Biosecurity Consultation. Consultation closes 31 October 2018.
What is a National Biosecurity Statement?
The statement will present a common and unifying approach to biosecurity for all system participants, articulating:
- a national vision and goals
- roles and responsibilities
- priorities and principles for managing biosecurity risk.
- Participation: all have an important role to play within the biosecurity system.
- Shared responsibility (or stewardship): everyone takes responsibility for biosecurity matters within their control. Everyone has an obligation to take action to protect Australia from pests and diseases.
- Openness and transparency: gathering a wide range of views to develop a unifying statement, which establishes a common understanding of biosecurity, shared responsibility and Australia’s approach to managing this risk.
Consultation on the statement will continue throughout the year at state and territory biosecurity roundtables and environmental biosecurity roundtables, as well as Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia member forums.
A final statement, incorporating feedback received throughout the consultation period, will be presented to stakeholders for endorsement at the 2018 National Biosecurity Forum on 29 November.
Western Australia biosecurity roundtable agenda
Facilitator: Amber Parr, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Updates: Dean Merrilees, Department of Agriculture and Water ResourcesHeather Brayford, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Mia Carbon, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Simon McKirdy, Chairperson WA Biosecurity Council
Item 4: Morning tea
Philippe Frost, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
11:25 – 1:05
Amber Parr, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Item 7: Lunch
Claire Hollis, Responses Branch, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
|2:10-2:30||Item 9: Afternoon Tea|
Facilitator: Amber Parr, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Amber Parr, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
2018 Biosecurity Roundtable Program Calendar
11 April 2018
South Australia Biosecurity Roundtable
3 May 2018
Environmental Biosecurity Roundtable 1
7 June 2018
Tasmania Biosecurity Roundtable
4 July 2018
Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable
2 August 2018
Victoria Biosecurity Roundtable
30 August 2018
New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Biosecurity Roundtable
26 September 2018
Northern Territory Biosecurity Roundtable
9 October 2018
Environmental Biosecurity Roundtable 2
11 October 2018
Queensland Biosecurity Roundtable
29 November 2018
National Biosecurity Forum
The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) would like to thank everyone who participated in the Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable for their time and contributions. The discussions and ideas from the Roundtable will feed into the agenda for the National Biosecurity Forum and other biosecurity governance and communication processes through the NBC and other avenues.
We value your feedback – if you have suggestions about this roundtable or the roundtable program please contact us at Biosecurity Roundtable.
Phone 1800 068 468
Facebook: Australian biosecurity
Subscribe to Biosecurity Matters, a bi-monthly online newsletter providing readers with a greater understanding of the department's work in managing biosecurity risks overseas, at the border and within Australia.