Commonwealth Biosecurity Act – Industry Update

By July 1, 2016 No Comments

The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) has had several teleconferences with the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) to resolve the four key priority areas impacted by the introduction of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015. The new Act came into effect on 16 June 2016. For more information on this Act, please see http://agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/legislation/new-biosecurity-legislation.

DAFWA provided a submission on the Commonwealth Biosecurity (Prohibited and Non-Prohibited Goods) Determination 2016 and outlined Western Australia’s position on the implications of the new Act and the draft Determination, in particular the four key priority areas of weeds, Myrtle rust, importation of table grapes and importation of bee products (including honey). Several industry representatives also provided submissions to the Commonwealth. DAFWA commends your efforts to achieve a good outcome for the biosecurity system of Western Australia.

As a result of the collaboration between DAFWA and DAWR, a generic statement was placed in BICON alerting importers of seed species to check requirements of the destination State or Territory prior to import on the day the new Act came into effect. DAFWA is satisfied with the arrangements that DAWR put in place for weeds.

With further analysis of the Myrtle rust issues and the conditions placed by DAWR on the Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for guava and eucalyptus rusts and Xylella fastidiosa, DAFWA is satisfied that these conditions are at this point in time sufficiently stringent to protect Western Australia from incursions of Myrtle rust via the importation of potential carriers. DAFWA is continuing to work with DAWR to ensure that Western Australia is adequately protected from incursions of Myrtle rust into the future.
DAWR has also placed a generic statement on BICON for importers of bee products (including honey) to check states and territories restrictions prior to import. DAFWA’s preferred option is for Western Australia’s specific import conditions for importation of bee products (including honey) to be placed on BICON.

DAWR has not placed a generic statement on BICON for the importation of table grapes as DAWR did for weeds and bee products. DAFWA has examined the issues relating to the importation of table grapes from overseas and arrived at the conclusion that the issue that requires resolution is the inconsistent assessments of DAWR and DAFWA of the risks posed by Phomopsis viticola and Greeneria uvicola through the table grapes pathway.

Minister Nalder has publicly supported DAFWA and the industry in our efforts to protect Western Australia’s biosecurity and the agrifood industry’s competitive advantage and market access. The Minister was interviewed by ABC 720 on Monday 13 June 2016 at 5:05pm. He has also written to his Commonwealth counterpart, Minister Barnaby Joyce, to express his concerns about the threats to Western Australia’s biosecurity and agrifood industry.

DAFWA is sending a team to Canberra to meet with representatives of DAWR on Monday 27 June and Tuesday 28 June 2016 to endeavour to resolve the issues outlined above. A comprehensive update will be provided to you after this meeting.

Kevin Chennell| Executive Director Biosecurity and Regulation
Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth WA 6151
t +61 (0)8 9368 3420 | f +61 (0)8 9368 3355 | m +61 (0)429 565 140
Email: kevin.chennell@agric.wa.gov.au

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