You are here: Home > Biosecurity partnership for Australia’s horticulture industry

Biosecurity partnership for Australia’s horticulture industry

Joint media release (Horticulture Australia Ltd): 12 November 2007

Better surveillance, improved risk analysis and faster diagnostics of pests and diseases will be developed by an expanded partnership between Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) and the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity (CRC Plant Biosecurity).

The biosecurity alliance will strengthen Australia's rigorous approach to quarantine and assist the horticulture industry to remain free of exotic pests and diseases that threaten Australia's clean and green reputation in the international marketplace.  

The alliance will build biosecurity R&D capacity and ensure the horticulture industry takes advantage of ‘new science solutions' being developed by CRC Plant Biosecurity as part of the national biosecurity research program.

"Science plays a major role in keeping Australia's $7 billion horticulture industry relatively free from new pest and disease threats," says Dr Simon McKirdy, CRC Plant Biosecurity's Chief Executive Officer.

"The impact of plant pests and disease incursions has been amply demonstrated in recent years. Papaya fruit fly, lettuce aphid and, more recently, citrus canker in Queensland have resulted in millions worth of damage to farms, eradication costs by government agencies, and loss of trade."

"That's why this research partnership is so important. Working closely with the horticultural industries, HAL and other partners of the CRC will develop new surveillance and diagnostic systems, risk analysis tools and pest controls for a coordinated national scientific approach."  

"Pest surveillance technology is rapidly improving. CRC Plant Biosecurity is developing new, long-lasting lures for female fruit flies. Current lures target male flies, and this means that we don't have a good measure of the impact of damage from female fruit flies.  

"The joint research will help scientists and producers to better detect and manage incursions of fruit flies. It will also help detect exotic flies not currently attracted to baits," says Dr McKirdy.  

According to HAL's Portfolio Manager of Biosecurity and Market Access R&D, Kim James, the partnership will ensure practical research solutions for a number of horticultural industries. 

"Biosecurity is now a major issue," says Mr James.

"Australia spends many millions of dollars a year on a range of pest and disease incursions. New surveillance technology and improved methods to detect and eradicate exotic pests before they become established will deliver real cost-efficiencies and outcomes to industry, and underpin valuable market access and export markets."

HAL has been a supporting participant with CRC Plant Biosecurity since 2005 and will substantially increase its funding contribution over the next five years to support the CRC's portfolio of joint research projects.  

The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL's R&D activities.