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2016 Spring - Can Australia’s biosecurity standards survive in a free trade era?

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FPJ1303C - Plowman, K & Langstaff, I (2016), Do Free Trade Agreements Risk Australia’s High Biosecurity Standards?

FPJ1303C - Plowman, K & Langstaff, I (2016), Do Free Trade Agreements Risk Australia’s High Biosecurity Standards?, in Farm Policy Journal, vol. 13, no. 3, Spring 2016, pp. 11-21, Surry Hills, Australia.

Australia’s animal health status and biosecurity system are two of Australia’s greatest assets and the foundation that supports the future growth and wellbeing of our nation and people. If Australia is to maintain its reputation as a world leader in animal health and biosecurity management, robust biosecurity practices must remain a priority across all levels of government and throughout all levels of the industry supply chain – to succeed, shared responsibility must be practiced.
Although biosecurity continues to grow in importance, biosecurity funding is falling – placing the system under strain. Declining resources combined with greater levels of urbanisation, increased movement of people and goods, expansion and intensification of agriculture, and ongoing environmental pressures are providing more opportunities for the entry and spread of diseases, pests, and weeds, which threatens our ability to maintain our outstanding biosecurity position.
The World Organisation for Animal Health recently found Australia’s reputation, as a world leader in animal health and biosecurity systems, is justified. However, if we are to maintain and continue this success, Australia requires an evolving biosecurity system to meet the growing complexity of Australia’s biosecurity landscape; it needs a longer-term view of where we are heading, of resourcing and investment, research and adoption and the application of different approaches.
We need to look to the future, rather than focusing on the present, and be prepared to make a substantive leap in attitudes and the application of different approaches and strategies to protect and enhance our biosecurity.

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