A consortium of Indigenous forestry enterprises and experts have received a AUD678 000 grant from the Australian Government to boost biosecurity in Northern Australian forests. Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the consortium, led by Plant Health Australia (PHA), would coordinate protection against pests and weeds in community-managed forests.
The project will establish a baseline pest and disease risk assessment, initiate surveillance, diagnostics and preparedness training, evaluate current biosecurity systems, update and establish best practice biosecurity methods and deliver a biosecurity risk mitigation plan, encompassing a wet and dry season for each location
“These grants have the double-impact of both improving biosecurity in northern Australia, and empowering Indigenous businesses,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Northern Australia has 53% of Australia’s landmass, but only 5% of its population.
“Northern Australia is also on the frontline for many high-risk plants and animals.
“This consortium will enable the Indigenous communities who manage the northern Australian forest industry to protect their forests from existing and emerging biosecurity threats.
“The northern Australian forest industry is worth $80 million per year, accounts for over 48% of Australia’s total forests and currently supports around 1200 direct jobs.
“Strong biosecurity measures underpin development in northern Australia, and I’m really proud of the work that PHA is coordinating in this space.”
Project partners include Indigenous-led forestry businesses, Gumatj Corporation, Wik Timbers and Tiwi Plantations, the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy.
PHA CEO Sarah Corcoran said PHA has a long history of bringing together stakeholders to strengthen the national plant biosecurity system.
“PHA is excited to work with Indigenous-owned forestry businesses in the north to grow their biosecurity knowledge and embed good biosecurity practices to support a sustainable forestry industry,” Ms Corcoran said.
“This project brings together forest biosecurity specialists and forest owners to develop a practical understanding of the biosecurity risks these businesses face.”
For more details on the 5 successful round 1 projects visit the Biosecurity Business Grants website: www.awe.gov.au/biosecurity-business-grants