Plant Health Committee (PHC)
PHC is the peak government plant biosecurity policy and decision-making forum. Its role is to maintain or improve plant health in Australia in support of the economy, environment and community through strategic policy, technical and regulatory advice and national leadership on plant biosecurity matters. PHC has responsibility for delivering on national priority reform areas, including those identified for implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) and oversighting the implementation by governments of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy (NPBS).
In October 2011, at the request of the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), PHC assumed responsibility for environmental matters including in relation to invertebrates that are terrestrial or freshwater herbivores, pollinators, parasites or parasitoids of plants, vectors of plant pathogens, or impact on social amenity.
The principal objective of PHC is to improve plant biosecurity outcomes, manage plant biosecurity risks and facilitate domestic trade within Australia through national leadership, strategic direction and collaboration with stakeholders.
Terms of Reference
PHC provides strategic scientific and policy advice to Australian governments on plant biosecurity, including in relation to the environment and social amenity, through National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), senior officials and ministers, and prioritises and coordinates national plant biosecurity activities by:
- Coordinating the implementation of the NPBS and other national plant biosecurity policies, programs and strategies.
- Delivering against priority areas as determined and / or tasked by NBC, including policy areas outlined in the IGAB.
- Driving development of nationally consistent policies, programs and strategies on plant biosecurity that are based on sound science and risk analysis.
- Establishing standards and coordinating the effective delivery of national plant biosecurity programs and activities across governments and industries.
- Coordinating a regulatory framework for domestic trade in plants and plant products consistent with Australia’s international obligations and principles for interstate trade.
- Advising on new and existing policy issues; including emerging threats, innovations and challenges, and those arising from the implementation of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and the National Environment Biosecurity Response Agreement.
- Reviewing and advising on plant biosecurity research, development and extension programs and activities to achieve optimal value from government and industry investment.
- Engaging stakeholders in the strategic planning, policy development and implementation of government processes.
- Collaborating with state and territory departments of primary industries, Plant Health Australia (PHA), sectoral committees and other bodies on relevant issues to ensure alignment, effective liaison and complementary work programs.
- Identifying relevant capabilities and resource requirements for delivering strategic objectives for plant biosecurity.
- Providing annual work plans and regular reporting, including referral of any issues requiring consideration, to NBC in accordance with NBC directives.
PHC members include the Chief Plant Health Managers (or equivalent) in each state and territory and the Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer.
The role of PHC members is to contribute to the development of national plant health policy, capacity and capability in Australia by representing their governments on plant health issues within the scope of PHC’s responsibilities and bringing a whole-of-government position to the committee. PHC membership comprises representatives from:
- Department of Agriculture (Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer)
- Department of Primary Industries (NSW)
- Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources (Victoria)
- Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (NT)
- Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (Tasmania)
- Department of Primary Industries and Regions (SA)
- Department of Agriculture and Food (WA)
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland)
- Territory and Municipal Services Directorate (ACT)
Observers are invited by the PHC Chair to participate at committee meetings in an advisory or consultative capacity. Observers come from government agencies and a government-industry co-funded company; and do not have voting rights. Current observers include:
- Plant Health Australia (PHA)
- Subcommittee Chairs
PHC is chaired on a rotational basis and is currently chaired by the department.
Secretariat support for PHC is provided by the department.
Face-to-face meetings of PHC are convened twice a year in June and November. PHC also convenes teleconferences twice a year in March and September, or as required.
PHC is a sub-committee of the NBC.
Sub-committees of PHC
- Sub-committee on Domestic Quarantine and Market Access (SDQMA)
- Sub-committee on Plant Health Diagnostics (SPHD)
- Sub-committee on National Plant Health Surveillance (SNPHS)
- Technical Advisory Panel for the Torres Strait Fruit Fly Strategy