True test for biosecurity strategy will be in delivery says NSW Farmers

NSW Farmers has welcomed the release of the NSW Biosecurity Strategy this week and called on the NSW Government to work with farmers to ensure it is successfully implemented.

NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson said on the whole the strategy is a good blueprint for ensuring a robust biosecurity system in the years ahead but has called on the government to clarify the cost sharing arrangements and to guarantee equality of responsibility for both public and private landholders.

“We are particularly pleased the government has made it clear that Local Land Services (LLS) will be an important part of the delivery and implementation of this strategy,” Ms Simson said.

“Landholders have made it clear that for the LLS model to work they need to see more action to target existing pest species than has been the case under the Livestock Health and Pest Authority model.

“To ensure this is the case we are calling on the government to strengthen any new legislation to ensure that LLS boards have a responsibility to actively manage declared pests, direct resources to the eradication of declared pests and initiate a formal independent evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of current weed and pest management arrangements in NSW.”

The foundation of the strategy is that biosecurity will be a shared responsibility and NSW Farmers is pleased the government has committed to increasing the numbers of well-trained and resourced people.

Ms Simson has made it clear that for this goal to be met the government will have to direct additional resources to the strategy’s implementation.

“Over the past year, 50 biosecurity staff from the Department of Primary Industries have had their jobs cut as $5.6 million has been removed from biosecurity services,” she said.

“Landholders are prepared to do their bit to protect our economy, environment and community from biosecurity threats but the government must commit to reversing the decline in funding and recognise that the resources it directs to biosecurity are an investment in the future prosperity of the state.”

The NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-2021 was launched on 22 May 2013 and provides the framework for biosecurity management in NSW. The strategy expands on the existing 2007 NSW Biosecurity Strategy to address not only primary industries but the broader biosecurity spectrum in terms of biodiversity and the natural environment, infrastructure and service industries as well as lifestyle, recreation, sport and social amenity. It can be found here.

Contact: Veneta Chapple

Phone: 0429 990 218

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