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NSW to Roll Out Biosecurity Blueprint

Primary producers will have the opportunity to provide feedback on an NSW Government plan to safeguard the State’s AU$ 21 billion food and fibre industry, as part of an upgraded biosecurity strategy. The region’s Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the purpose of the strategy is to:

  • Set a clear vision for biosecurity and food safety in NSW;
  • Map strategy objectives for Government, industry, and the community; and
  • Outline key activities that will guide decision-making for farmers.

He noted that the NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030 will be the blueprint for protecting the livelihoods, economy and environment against biosecurity and food safety risks. Biosecurity and food safety are shared responsibilities and everybody’s business.

It was noted that recent outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease in Indonesia and varroa mite in NSW have highlighted the critical need to be prepared, now and into the future.

The government has been working hard to build NSW’s capability and capacity to manage risk, invest in tools and technologies, and develop better prevention strategies and responses to threats and minimise any negative impacts. Feedback and insights will help create a strategy that can be delivered together to help fortify NSW’s economy, industry, environment and community for years to come.

The strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to protecting NSW from biosecurity and food safety threats and builds on the government’s record investment of AU$163.9 million in biosecurity protection announced in the 2022-23 State Budget.

The draft NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030 is open for input online, launch until 1 September 2022. The Biosecurity Strategy will draw on the concept of ‘One Health’, which recognises the relationship between animal, plant and human health and the interdependencies between optimal biosecurity, food safety, and economic, social and environmental prosperity.

Recently, the NSW Government announced that it has received unanimous support for the development of a national, industry-led mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification (eID) system during a meeting of Australian Agriculture Ministers yesterday.

The Minister for Agriculture noted that there is now a strong mandate to start working on how best to implement a national system for sheep and goats. He said that individual traceability for sheep and goats will be critical in the event of an emergency disease outbreak like Foot and Mouth Disease in Australia.

The agreement is a major leap towards closing all gaps in the national biosecurity system. Recent detections of Foot and Mouth Disease fragments in Melbourne and Adelaide are a frightening reminder of the need to ramp up biosecurity controls.

The Minister noted that national framework will be urgently developed by federal and state agricultural departments with industry input for consideration at the next meeting of agriculture ministers. Commitment to sheep and goat producers is that they will have their voices heard during all stages of the implementation and development of a national traceability system.

The Minister also welcomed an announcement by the federal government to add sanitiser foot mats at all international airports in Australia, along with confirmation that foot mats will also be rolled out at departure terminals in Indonesia noting that NSW has been prosecuting the case for increased biosecurity measures like foot mats at international airports, and while the steps taken by the federal government are positive.

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