Australia has a world class biosecurity system, but as long as international trade and people movements occur, there will always be a risk of new plant pests entering the country. Pests can also be spread to Australia through natural means, such as wind and water currents.
An essential part of Australia’s plant biosecurity system is to rapidly eradicate or contain an incursion of an exotic plant pest. Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and growers are at the frontline in reporting suspect pests and diseases in their crops.
Reporting a Suspect Emergency Plant Pest is an online training module which aims to inform growers and their industries of the roles and responsibilities in an emergency plant pest (EPP) response.
Plant Health Australia’s Executive Director and CEO, Greg Fraser, said: “Early detection and reporting gives you the best chance of eradicating a pest or disease and minimising its impact. The earlier a new pest is reported, the better the chances of successful eradication.”
Delays in reporting allow the pest to become established and potentially spread further, making eradication more difficult and costly.
“For an effective response to new plant pests, everyone involved must know what’s expected of them,” Mr Fraser said. “That’s where biosecurity training comes in. It ensures that we are prepared so that any response is swift, standardised and has the best chance of success.”
While Plant Health Australia has a national face-to-face training program, online modules improve accessibility. The new module builds on the first one, which provides general information about key elements of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and PLANTPLAN, the operational guide during an emergency response.
Dr Stephen Dibley, PHA’s Program Manager, Training and Biosecurity Preparedness, recommends anyone with an interest in plant biosecurity to take the courses to familiarise themselves with the arrangements.
“We’ve made it quick and easy to access this training – it’s free and the modules can be completed in under an hour,” he said. “You read through the material at your own pace, learning what happens in the event of a pest incursion and what your role would be.”
“Every producer should expect to do some form of training, and being online makes that easier,” he said.
Mr Fraser agrees. “The knowledge and skills provided by this training will help improve your biosecurity preparedness and reduce the risk of new pests impacting on your business and Australia’s agricultural systems,” he said.
The course modules are available from www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/training