Biosecurity Plan a ‘road map’ for the sector

RD&A News | October 2020
09 Oct 2020
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A new Biosecurity Plan for Viticulture Industries – identifying 240 plant pests and diseases of concern, and how to reduce their risk – has been endorsed by the wine grape, table grape and dried fruit peak industry bodies.

The plan provides a ‘rallying point’ for the three grape sectors to coordinate activities to improve biosecurity – and covers how they will commit to coordinating training, surveillance, risk assessment, diagnostics, emergency response preparedness and awareness raising.

It was developed by Plant Health Australia in consultation with a number of biosecurity and viticultural experts and co-funded by Wine Australia and Horticulture Innovation Australia.

‘The better prepared the sector is to respond to exotic pest incursions and the better the on-farm biosecurity practices are, the more the sector reduces the risk of biosecurity incidents’, said Emily Lamberton, Project Officer for Plant Health Australia.

‘In effect, the plan is a road map for how we will work together to address the risks we all face’, she said.

Wine Australia’s biosecurity expert Craig Elliott said while Australia has an extremely effective biosecurity system that many countries overseas ‘regard with a degree of envy’, increased trade and people movement was putting the system under pressure.

‘The Biosecurity Plan provides a framework that supports that system by identifying what our priorities are and how we can protect our sectors from any pests and diseases that get into the country’, said Craig, who leads efforts, co-funded with Hort Innovation, to improve preparedness levels in Australia for the exotic Xylella plant bacteria.

He said the plan not only identified activities to reduce the costs associated with endemic pests like phylloxera, including lost production and increased pest and disease management costs, but to also coordinate efforts to reduce the risk of new pests and diseases such as Xylella or Spotted wing drosophila entering the country and spreading.

A number of initiatives to support the plan have been proposed including:

  • The development of training, guidance material and support for growers to improve biosecurity and management of pests and diseases on their properties and supply chains.
  • The development of contingency plans to prepare for an outbreak or incursion, along with simulation exercises to test preparedness.
  • Coordination of surveillance and reporting across industries by growers, industry bodies and governments.
  • Investigating new and emerging technologies to improve the approach to surveillance and diagnostics including more rapid and efficient methods to detect and identify pests and diseases.

‘We also want to promote greater use of regional vineyard databases to be able to identify the location, and ownership and manager details, of vineyards to enable quicker responses in the event of an emergency’, said Craig.

Craig said the plan would form the backbone of how to mobilise biosecurity efforts across all three sectors.

The biosecurity plan is a working document that was endorsed in June 2020 and will run until June 2023.

Factsheets for the High Priority Pests of the viticulture industries were developed under this project. To download the fact sheets, visit www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/industries/wine-grapes/

You can also find out more about implementing biosecurity measures on your property at farmbiosecurity.com.au and vinehealth.com.au.


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