About plant biosecurity

About plant biosecurity

Plant Biosecurity is a set of measures designed to protect a crop, crops or a sub-group of crops from emergency plant pests at national, regional and individual farm levels.
Source: Plant Health Australia 2005, Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed

Why is plant biosecurity important?

Biosecurity has emerged as a major global issue. Harmful plant pests and diseases can impact on food safety, trade, market access, market development and, ultimately, the profitability and sustainability of plant industries.

Australia is relatively free from many of the plant pests and diseases which seriously impact on agricultural industries in other countries. Through the absence of many pests and diseases commonly found overseas, Australia's plant industries have a valuable competitive advantage in terms of securing market access and maintaining lower production costs.

If these pests found their way into Australia, the economic viability of Australia's plant industries (with a crop production value of $14 billion in exports and $8 billion in domestic markets) would be directly threatened. Even the perception of pests in Australian produce would have a rapid and negative impact on Australia's reputation as a producer of safe, quality food products.

The on-going supply of agricultural products to the domestic market, and the commerce associated with the entire supply chain are also at risk. For example, it has been predicted that the arrival of fire blight in Australia would result in a $830 million loss over a five year period to the Australian apple and pear industry due to yield loss and ongoing management costs. In addition, an outbreak in the Goulburn Valley would wipe out 80% of the highly susceptible Australian pear industry.

We play a vital role in enhancing the scientific effort to enable Australia's plant industries to pre-empt and, therefore, diminish the economic, social and environmental impact of harmful plant pests and diseases. Our research activities cover the full biosecurity continuum, pre-border, border and post- border.

We will contribute to the Australian biosecurity system (ABS), providing the science required to underpin the plant pest related objectives. Outcomes from our will also assist in minimising the impact of possible plant-based bioterrorism.

Our vision... 

Australian plant production systems, markets and environments are protected from invasive pests and diseases through an effective plant biosecurity system.

Our mission...

...is to develop and deploy scientific knowledge, tools, resources and capacity to safeguard Australia, its plant industries and regional communities from the economic, environmental and social consequences of damaging invasive plant pests and diseases.