8 May 2012
A $524.2 million investment in Australia’s biosecurity system included in today’s Federal Budget will deliver a state-of-the-art quarantine facility and strengthen Australia’s defences against pests and diseases.
This new funding will see more than $1.6 billion invested in biosecurity by the Federal Government since 2009, safeguarding the agricultural sector and underpinning Australia’s strong reputation as a reliable exporter of high-quality food and fibre.
New Post Entry Quarantine Facility
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said $379.9 million has been allocated over seven years for the construction of a state-of-the-art post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne.
“This facility will mean Australia will have the newest and most advanced technology available to manage the import of high-risk plant and animal material,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The investment corrects the Howard Government’s short-sighted decision to sell off quarantine centres, only to lease them back, with no maintenance plan, no long term investment strategy and no regard for changing land use in peri-urban areas.”
Stronger front-line defences
Minister Ludwig said $124.5 million has been provided for core frontline biosecurity operations and external review and verification processes.
“Our frontline defences play a pivotal role in protecting Australia from pests and disease. This investment will also support the move towards risk-based operations that will see resources allocated according to the level of risk,” he said.
“On top of the wider biosecurity investment, a separate $95.9 million over seven years, allocated from the Caring for our Country program, will fund eradication programs for nationally significant pests and diseases.”
Update to century-old legislation
The Gillard Government is committed to ongoing reform of our national biosecurity system. A cornerstone of these reforms will be putting in place a new Biosecurity Act which will replace legislation that was first written in 1908.
“Australia’s biosecurity system is world-class. This important initiative is about modernising our legislation and creating a responsive and flexible operating environment to maintain that world-class standing,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The century-old Quarantine Act has served us well but new legislation is needed for a safe and seamless transition of goods and services across Australia’s borders.”
Minister Ludwig said supporting all of these activities will be a $19.8 million investment over three years in biosecurity ICT infrastructure and systems.
“The investments in today’s Budget further support the Gillard Government’s commitment to building a flexible and responsive biosecurity system that protects Australia’s unique environment and agricultural industries,” Minister Ludwig said.