Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton has slammed commentary that biosecurity arrangements should be transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Border Security portfolio.
In a speech to the Federal Parliament Mr Coulton said that changes of this nature would be detrimental to the integrity of Australian agriculture and biosecurity.
“In some ways, being an island nation in this part of the world, Australia is disadvantaged due to isolation and distance, but our biosecurity and protection from disease also give us an advantage over our competitor nations,” said Mr Coulton.
Mr Coulton said that several reviews, including the recent Commission of Audit, indicated that there was no advantage to merging biosecurity responsibilities with border protection.
“Biosecurity risks are generally not visible and require specialised management systems. Our export markets often rely on our products being clean and disease-free.”
“The risk that a pair of muddy boots from a foot and mouth infected region offer a real threat to Australian agriculture- keeping biosecurity experts with the knowledge about best practice for biosecurity within the Agriculture portfolio is essential.”
Mr Coulton urged all travellers to be aware of the dangers of bringing products back to Australia that put Australia’s produce at risk.
“This is an area that the Government takes extremely seriously because if there were to be a breach of our biosecurity arrangements the impact could well be felt right throughout the supply chain and would severely affect our economy.”
“Australia’s biosecurity arrangements will be staying within the Agriculture Portfolio.”