Clear guidelines needed for all

Biosecurity means people knowing their responsibilities


Opinion
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Everyone is a guardian; everyone should know how to protect Australia's biosecurity.

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PROTECTING our primary industries took a step forward with the implementation of the new Biosecurity Act on July 1. The need to negate the impacts of contaminants, weeds, pests and diseases is very important in protecting our industry and boosting the economy. This however can only be achieved if industry and the wider community are aware of the importance of biosecurity and their obligations to best manage potential impacts.

For many months now, NSW Farmers has been calling for the government to develop and implement a wide-reaching biosecurity communication and education campaign to ensure regulations are upheld. To date, too little has been done to highlight the role all of us have in maintaining our biosecurity status and our clean and green image.

At a recent biosecurity roundtable hosted by NSW Primary Industries and Agriculture and Water Resources departments it was highlighted that funding is required to push forward a campaign to increase compliance across industry and the community.

There are a set number of people out there doing the right thing but the knowledge and awareness bar needs to be raised so good biosecurity practice becomes the standard. Many people in the industry and community may already be doing correct biosecurity practice, such as cleaning down boats between fishing spots or cleaning vehicles between properties, but by providing correct and appropriate management and practice examples for all, the biosecurity level should only increase.

NSW Farmers supports the legislation and the general biosecurity duty, which places the responsibility on a person to know their biosecurity risk and limit this where possible.

The reality though, is that without a strong awareness and education campaign focusing on the duty, and the steps a person can take to mitigate their risk, the industry, economy and community will be at risk.

- NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen

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