Analysis of plant preparedness capability

​Report compiled by Rob Schwartz Consulting

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources engaged an independent consultant, Mr Rob Schwartz, to examine current departmental and national preparedness arrangements for exotic plant pest incursions and identify areas where improvements could be made. In preparing the report, the consultant engaged with all relevant areas of the department, selected state governments and industries, the Invasive Species Council and Plant Health Australia.

The report, Analysis of Plant Pest Preparedness Capability, found there are well developed arrangements in place for prevention, early detection and response to exotic plant pests. It also makes a number of recommendations to strengthen these arrangements.

Fifteen findings were made, presented under three themes: Prevention, Early Detection and Response. The report identifies areas for improvement, particularly in terms of targeting, and the coordination of activities and resources. The report also looks at ways in which industry and other stakeholders may be better able to engage with the department, and its activities, into the future.

The majority of findings in this report are already being actioned by the Australian Government through current departmental work and the implementation of the Agricultural Competitiveness and Developing Northern Australia White Papers, which provide $200 million to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system. The Stronger Biosecurity and Quarantine Initiative, which commenced in 2014-15, provides $20 million over four years to better enable rapid response to pest and disease incursions and undertake preparedness activities.

Findings related to national preparedness will be referred to the Plant Health Committee, comprising representatives from the Australian, state and territory governments for consideration and action, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Further actions will be reported by the committee through its normal communication channels.