Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer

​​Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer (ACPPO), Dr Kim Ritman, is the primary representative of, and an advisor to, the Australian Government on all matters relating to Australia’s plant health status and its supporting systems.

Working from within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Ritman aims to promote a shared vision for plant health that protects and enhances Australia’s valuable plant resources and production capacity. Achieving this objective:

  • protects the environment
  • increases plant production efficiencies
  • reduces plant pest pressures
  • improves market access for plants and plant products.

Dr Ritman is Australia’s official contact point for the International Plant Protection Convention.

Strategic priorities for 2015–16

  • Creating a shared vision for, and leadership of, plant health in Australia.
  • Representing Australia in international plant health forums, such as:
  • Leading the national response to emergency plant pests.
  • Leading the transitions of non-eradicable pests to ongoing management.
  • Providing expert advice on biosecurity risk assessments and plant health issues.
  • Developing an enterprise solution for biosecurity surveillance.
  • Developing a collaborative approach to surveillance.
  • Developing an International Plant Health Strategy.
  • Contributing to the implementation of the white papers specifically in the areas of intelligent capability and surveillance.

About Dr Kim Ritman

On 1 July 2014, Dr Kim Ritman was appointed as Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer.

Kim has led and managed science based policy advice for government in many areas, including fisheries, forestry, land use, biosecurity, feral animals and weeds, climate, water availability, salinity, agricultural biotechnology, spatial information and social sciences.

After obtaining a PhD in plant physiology, Kim specialised in satellite imagery and digital mapping. He has applied these technologies in the areas of forestry, crop forecasting, vegetation mapping and agriculture. He has commercial experience as a project manager in the IT sector, developing large defence geospatial projects and improving quality management systems. He has worked in Victorian and NSW state governments, as well as a short stint lecturing in computer science at Otago University in New Zealand.

Dr Ritman is also the department’s Chief Scientist​ and the two roles are well integrated.

Dr Kim Ritman explains his two roles

Download the video as an MP4​ [3.1 MB; 1:19 minutes]

Download the audio as an MP3 [1.8 MB; 1:19 minutes]​​

Transcript of Kim Ritman's video

I’m Kim Ritman and I’m the Chief Plant Protection officer for the department and the Australian Government, as well as being the Chief Scientist for the department. The two roles are very closely related, they complement each other and that’s only strengthened by scientific evidence and that Chief Scientist role brings that gravitas if you like to the role.

The department has scientific officers here in Canberra but it also has operational scientists at the border. Those scientists at the border and in NAQS (Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy) are integral to the way the department operates in protecting our environment and our industries but also facilitating trade.

We bring science and scientific evidence to the fore, we make a technical assessment of whether it’s feasible to eradicate a plant pest, we’ve got to be responsible in terms of the amount of money that entails but ultimately it’s the scientific evidence we’re looking at.