Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer

Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer (ACPPO) , 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 , Dr Ritman promotes a shared vision for plant health that protects and enhances Australia’s valuable plant resources and production capacity. This :

  • protects the environment
  • increases plant production efficiencies
  • reduces plant pest pressures
  • improves market access for plants and plant products.

Dr Ritman is Australia’s official contact point for the International Plant Protection Convention.


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.

Dr Ritman represents Australia in international plant health engagement including:

Dr Ritman 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).

Strategic priorities for 2019-20

Priorities for the ACCPO include:

About Dr Kim Ritman

On 1 July 2014, Dr Kim Ritman was appointed as Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer.

Kim has led and managed science based policy advice for government in many areas, including fisheries, forestry, land use, biosecurity, feral animals and weeds, climate, water availability, salinity, agricultural biotechnology, spatial information and social sciences.

With a PhD in plant physiology, Kim specialised in satellite imagery and digital mapping. He has applied these technologies in the areas of forestry, crop forecasting, vegetation mapping and agriculture. He has commercial experience as a project manager in the IT sector, developing large defence geospatial projects and improving quality management systems. He has worked in Victorian and New South Wales state governments, as well as a short stint lecturing in computer science at Otago University in New Zealand.

Dr Ritman is also the department’s Chief Scientist​ and the two roles are well integrated.

Dr Kim Ritman explains his two roles

Download the video as an MP4​ [3.1 MB; 1:19 minutes]

Download the audio as an MP3 [1.8 MB; 1:19 minutes]​​

Transcript of Kim Ritman's video

I’m Kim Ritman and I’m the Chief Plant Protection officer for the department and the Australian Government, as well as being the Chief Scientist for the department. The two roles are very closely related, they complement each other and that’s only strengthened by scientific evidence and that Chief Scientist role brings that gravitas if you like to the role.

The department has scientific officers here in Canberra but it also has operational scientists at the border. Those scientists at the border and in NAQS (Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy) are integral to the way the department operates in protecting our environment and our industries but also facilitating trade.

We bring science and scientific evidence to the fore, we make a technical assessment of whether it’s feasible to eradicate a plant pest, we’ve got to be responsible in terms of the amount of money that entails but ultimately it’s the scientific evidence we’re looking at.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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