SIA responds to ABC Four Corners episode on white spot virus

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) is concerned by the findings and allegations made by Four Corners, regarding the deliberate evasion of Australia’s strict biosecurity and quarantine procedures. Watch http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/outbreak/9932836

“Australia’s international trade and environment is underpinned by our biosecurity system. Any business or individual breaching this system puts the livelihood of many Australians at risk. The Four Corners report raised some extremely serious allegations of this system being circumvented ” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“As we saw during the 2016 white spot virus outbreak, any major biosecurity breach has the potential to wipe out an entire sector of Australia’s agriculture industry and impact the country’s economy.

“SIA is also concerned that the integrity of our biosecurity system can be compromised by insufficient resources. This is a point made by the Inspector-General of Biosecurity’s recent report into white spot.

“Without enough staff to review and revise import risk assessments, we run the risk of increasing biosecurity breaches. Global supply chains are changing rapidly in response to market pressures, diseases are changing and we must make sure we are on the front foot in this dynamic environment. Insufficient resourcing means there is increased risk from these types of diseases for not only the seafood industry, but the entire agriculture industry.

“It’s important the Department of Agriculture has sufficient resources to deal with national biosecurity issues, whether they are related to seafood, cows or crops.

“Now is not the time for cutbacks.

“Minister Littleproud’s recent announcement of increased funding for biosecurity, including marine pests, is welcome. But, the question remains whether this is enough.

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