PARK WATCH Article November 2022 |

Biosecurity has traditionally been a domain of government. The decade of biosecurity aims to see all Australians to take responsibility, reports Nature Campaigner Jordan Crook.

Earlier this year government, industry, conservation and Traditional Owner groups gathered on the Gold Coast at the second Australian Biosecurity Symposium to share research and exchange knowledge and ideas about biosecurity in Australia.

The crescendo to this inspiring and informative symposium was the declaration of the ‘Decade of Biosecurity’. This idea, was inspired by the 1980s declaration of the Decade of Landcare that led to today’s national movement that works with regional landholders to improve ecological outcomes on private land.

The catch cry for the Decade of Biosecurity is ‘Turning a moment into a movement’ – an ambitious long-term vision that includes all Australians in its scope.

Across our parks and wild places we see and feel the impact of poor biosecurity choices made by past and existing authorities. From weed invasions and grazed plants to feral rabbits and deer. But most notable is what we don’t see and hear in our landscapes anymore.

Pest plants, animals and pathogens don’t care about land tenures or borders, conservation areas, production areas or urban areas but their presence is felt across all these. These impacts need to be tackled across all these areas to make solid long-lasting inroads in reducing their effect.

For a long time legislation, enforcement and research have been predominately focused on reducing the threat of new, emerging and existing biosecurity threats on agricultural production. Pests that impact only environmentally significant areas are often not dealt with in an effective or strategic manner to stop their spread and start their eradication in many cases.

The Decade of Biosecurity is a chance to ‘reimagine our biosecurity system, engage all Australians and enact more inclusive, ambitious and effective measures’. This gives great hope for a future where new and emerging pest and diseases are stopped before they entrench themselves in our parks and farm lands, and existing threats are managed by communities to the benefit of everyone: our unique native plants, animals and ecosystems.

On 20 September, Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney launched Victoria’s Biosecurity Statement, which sets out ways industry and government can work together to protect our environment and economy. VNPA welcomes this statement. We’ve long needed a more cohesive approach to how we can look after both our natural and cultural heritage, and the state’s agricultural sector.

There’s now a clear future where the biosecurity challenges of the food and fibre industries are tackled without compromising the health and well-being of the natural world.

For more information on the Decade of Biosecurity and to join the movement head to

VNPA attended the 2nd Australian Biosecurity Symposium on the Gold Coast with support of the Invasive Species Council.

Image: Ben Gill

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