Principal Investigator: Mark Boulter
Key Words: Biosecurity, Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity, IGAB
FRDC welcomes the opportunity to comment on this biosecurity review and to outline how FRDC and its partners have been investing in this space for many years.
As this submission will show the Government, through FRDC, industry and its research partners has invested considerable funds over the years on RD&E in the aquatic biosecurity area, much of this investment has been aimed at protecting the aquaculture sector. What this body of RD&E has demonstrated is that the aquatic environment is an extremely difficult environment to manage with respect to biosecurity. As once undesirable organisms get a hold they are almost impossible to eradicate or contain, making the key biosecurity roles in the aquatic space one of either Prevention or Asset Based Protection.
FRDC acknowledges that there is an argument that the investment is skewed too much towards the Asset Based Protection rather than the Prevention end of the spectrum. It has been claimed that doing more of the same, i.e. continuing to constantly invest heavily at the Asset Based Protection end of the spectrum and expecting a different result each time is an unwise way of going forward.
This submission demonstrate that FRDC believes that within the aquatics area, it has process in place effective research, development and extension (RD&E) as well planning, consultative, investment, evaluation processes, that could work well; and may be an approach worth looking at for other sectors. This is through the Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram (AAHBS) which involves all relevant stakeholders and feeds into the Australian Government Sub-Committee on Aquatic Animal Health (SCAAH). However, currently there is no direct relationship between FRDC and the "national biosecurity system (NBC)" as described in the review, except for the new Carp Control Program. There is an implied relationship between the Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy and the membership of DAWR on the steering body for that strategy and DAWR’s membership on the "national biosecurity system".
FRDC can see the logic, outlined in the review, of RIRDC playing a role in managing the relevant cross-sectoral RD&E investment in biosecurity and supports this option that has been put forward.
FRDC does not support a new national biosecurity RD&E plan. This will duplicate the existing Animal Biosecurity RD&E Strategy and the Plant Biosecurity RD&E Strategy. Given that these strategies have been agreed by all participants to the RD&E Statement of Intent (Commonwealth, state and territory governments, Universities and RDCs) it would make sense not to have a duplicative set of priorities that do not link to funding source or implementation process.