Review of national biosecurity plans (MT17003)
What’s it all about?
Beginning in late 2017, this five-year project is for and funded by both the avocado and mango industries. It is responsible for reviewing and updating the industries’ biosecurity plans. These plans are top-level documents that identify high-priority endemic and exotic pests, diseases and weeds, along with the risk mitigation activities required to reduce their biosecurity threat, and surveillance and diagnostic activities. They provide a strategic framework for industry and government to work together to improve preparedness for and response to these potential threats.
Australia's freedom from many of the exotic pests (insects, pathogens and weeds) that affect avocado and mango crops overseas provides the industry with production advantages. Freedom from exotic pests also assists overseas market access negotiations. Biosecurity planning to identify and prioritise biosecurity risks and risk mitigation activities is a critical step in assisting the avocado and mango industries to minimise the impact of new pests and diseases and maintain these advantages.
Both Avocados Australia and the Australian Mango Industry Association are signatories of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), and biosecurity planning will ensure that both industries can comply with their obligations as signatories to the EPPRD.
Biosecurity planning has provided the avocado and mango industries with the framework for risk mitigation and provided a roadmap for future investment for activities in biosecurity. Through the biosecurity development process, the industries have identified:
- the highest risk exotic pests
- established pests and weeds of biosecurity significance
- risk mitigation activities required to reduce potential biosecurity threats, including farm level activities
- current surveillance and diagnostic activities
For the review of the biosecurity plans (BPs) for the avocado and mango industries, the following activities have been undertaken:
- Meeting of industry members and scientific experts to identify and prioritise high priority pests (exotic and established) for the industry
- Post-border biosecurity capability assessment for all high priority pests to inform the development of biosecurity implementation activities to mitigate risk, prepare for response and plan for business continuity needs if an exotic pest establishes in Australia
- An enhanced approach to implementing biosecurity through the formation of a Biosecurity Implementation Group (BIG)
- Face-to-face meeting and coordination of the BIG to review and finalise the BP
- Endorsement of the BPs at the industry level, through Avocados Australia and Australian Mango Industry Association, and the government level, through Plant Health Committee, for launching at appropriate industry events.
This five-year project has also included the establishment and maintenance of Biosecurity Reference Panels for the two industries to annually review progress with implementation activities, and to prioritise biosecurity R&D under the PHA developed process agreed to by PHA industry members and Plant Health Committee.
The Biosecurity Plan for the Avocado Industry was endorsed by Plant Health Committee in January 2020.
The second Avocado Biosecurity Reference Panel (BRP) meeting was held in July 2021. The meeting had three main objectives; to review the exotic High Priority Pests (HPP’s), to review progress against activities outlined in the implementation table, and to prioritise activities for the upcoming year.