Minutes from the 2017 National Biosecurity Committee NSW/ACT Roundtable Meeting

farmer checking fences

Rod Hoare checks one of his fences. Photo: FarmBioSecurity

Last Wednesday I attended The 2017 National Biosecurity Committee NSW/ACT Roundtable Meeting in Sydney. The key message was “Shared Responsibility.”

Key points from the various speakers:


Dr Bruce Christie – Department of Primary Industry

  • On the 1st July, NSW changed to the new Biosecurity Legislation.
  • Hope to get the message through by education
  • Get people on side – Surveillance – Find things quickly


ACT – Stephen Hughes

  • Percentage of Land in the ACT Government owned only 190 farmers.


Marion Healy – Australian Government

  • Biosecurity consists of Border Control plus pre border and post border control
  • No such thing as zero risk
  • Incoming articles and consignments etc coming from a more diverse base with on line ordering
  • Biosecurity risks are shifting
  • Need to prepare for future challenges
  • Biosecurity understanding is lacking [Some don’t understand/some cheat]
  • Government spending $200 million aimed at strengthening surveillance, community action and scientific capability
  • We need a whole system approach


Andrew Cox – Invasive Species Council

  • All extinct animals in Australia have been caused by invasive species
  • Invasive species threaten 75% of all industries
  • Pre border inter action establishment
  • EI Final Report strengthened the partnership between Government – Industry – Community


Matt Brand NSW Farmers’ CEO

  • Biosecurity effects Social, Economic and environmental
  • People visiting farms are security risks, Visitors, Media invading properties, Utility services etc
  • Need to engage the public –Consistent, repetitive message



  • Challenges to Biosecurity
  • Not working together [We need co ordination]
  • Lack of Education
  • Not working quickly enough
  • Pests, weeds don’t recognise State Borders
  • Risk creators pay
  • Machinery coming onto properties needs to be cleaned

It was a very engaging day with perhaps the most beneficial part being the last discussion sessions.

To me, during these sessions it became clear that there is a very big gap between Government employees understanding and people that actually own farms when it comes to reporting outbreaks.

I spoke strongly for having definite compensation in place for people whose places are shut down or stock destroyed or their income is halted when an outbreak is reported.

It is very clear that Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

Regards/ Joy

Joy Poole OAM – President AHIC