Plant biosecurity research initiative

Australia’s plant biosecurity has been strengthened after Plant Health Australia (PHA) and the nation’s seven plant Research and Development Corporations, including the GRDC, announced a new research partnership.

The collaboration aims to unite the Australian plant biosecurity system, avoid duplication of spending on research activities and create better linkages between industry research and the national biosecurity systems managed by the Australian and state and territory governments.

The group – comprising GRDC, PHA, Horticulture Innovation Australia, Wine Australia, Forest and Wood Products Australia, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Sugar Research Australia – is streamlining funding efforts and plans to increase biosecurity investment.

The executive director of PHA and chair of the new partnership, Greg Fraser, says the seven plant RDCs will provide an improved environment for coordination and action. “By working together, these stakeholders will ensure they are applying their respective skills and resources in the best possible manner,” he says.

The GRDC’s general manager of crop protection and the organisation’s representative in the partnership, Dr Ken Young, says the collaboration marks the next step in creating a network that better addresses investment gaps in plant biosecurity and avoids duplication.

“The next step is to determine a list of key funding priorities for Australian plant industries, based on industry and government advice and research conducted so far, and identification of the highest biosecurity threats,” Dr Young says. “The grains industry will benefit from this collaborative approach through linkages between cross-sectoral RD&E programs as well as the National Biosecurity Committee.”

The partnership has appointed Dr Jo Luck as the plant biosecurity RD&E program director to ensure the commitment made by the RDCs and PHA to lead RD&E coordination, funding and delivery will come to fruition.

Resources:

Plant Health Australia