Farmers say stronger biosecurity needed

NSW Farmers has called for a commitment to improve the biosecurity legislation in NSW in the lead up to the 28 March state election.

The association claimed today that without a strong biosecurity system, our competitive advantage of being relatively pest and disease free versus our global competitors would be lost.

The NSW Government introduced the Biosecurity Bill (2014) late last year and whilst this was a significant step toward a holistic system of detection and prevention, NSW Farmers was satisfied the Bill passed over during the last sitting week of government.

NSW Farmers President Fiona Simson said: “The Bill is a great start and it’s the result of an enormous amount of work but it certainly could be improved – it just doesn’t pass the test as it stands. We want to see more independent oversight and transparency.”

“The introduction of a serious exotic pest or disease to NSW would not only devastate our farmers, it would put a wrecking ball through our state’s economy. Our political leaders should recognise that a strong biosecurity system is the fundamental enabler of our $12 billion agricultural system,” she said.

“Economic modelling has shown us that a 12-month outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would cost the economy billions of dollars. With agriculture set to underpin so much economic growth in this country, it has never been more important to get the framework right.

“We need rigour, independence, transparency and science-based decision making when tweaking our biosecurity settings and I would welcome a commitment that delivers on those core principles.

“This industry is too important to play games with. It is too important to get caught up in a discussion about the size of government.

“Biosecurity is the principle building block of our production system. I call on our politicians to show leadership in this area,” Ms Simson concluded.

16 March 2015 

ends 

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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