Horticulture's peak body applauds $21 million injection in plant biosecurity sectors
24 May 2017
Voice of Horticulture has applauded Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) for securing almost $6.8 million of the Federal Government grant and co-investor funding which will help to deliver a $21 million injection across all key plant biosecurity sectors of Australia.
Chair of Voice of Horticulture, Tania Chapman joined the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, in Mildura last Saturday when he made the funding announcement.
Ms Chapman said the funding announcement reiterated that it was vital the Government and the Industry re-invested and preserved the already robust national biosecurity bodies who helped to protect Australia’s $30 billion industry.
She stressed that the five-year project was about giving growers and industry the tools to be able to identify exotic pests and to be more proactive with management activities.
The injection is part of the Australian Government’s $6.8 million Rural Research and Development for Profit grant and will complement Hort Innovation’s $14 million investment project across seven plant Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and partners such as the CSIRO, universities and state government agencies. Vegetable industry body AUSVEG and Plant Health Australia are also key collaborators.
Ms Chapman said that, while this money was welcome and much needed, it was not the end of the story “… it is one small step towards the long journey that we must all share in protecting our country from biosecurity threats”.
“We, as consumers or backyarders, also need to share the responsibility with government, industry and growers to protect our industry,” she added.
The five-year project will see the construction and establishment of eight state-of-the-art mobile pest monitoring hubs, including a suite of smart surveillance traps that capture airborne fungal spores and insects and reference them against GPS, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction data.
That data will then be fed “real-time” into the cloud-based system AUSPestCheck – a national database that is already being used by state and territory governments. It will then be distributed to producers, governments and industry groups in the form of immediate alerts, pest forecasts and general reports to support efficient, informed and collaborative decision-making.
“The enviable biosecurity status of Australian agriculture is a result of a robust national biosecurity system underpinned by quality science so such projects that now have been invested in by the Government have a proficient future,” Ms Chapman said.
The Voice of Horticulture is a member based organization that represents horticultural growers and business across fruit, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, turf, nursery plants and cut flowers.