The nursery industry has taken a significant step towards streamlining the trade of plants between states, folllowing years of dedicated engagement and support with state governments for changes to existing legislation.
The Queensland Government has passed amendments to its Biosecurity Act 2014, and it’s hoped BioSecure HACCP will soon be recognised as an approved third party accreditation scheme for certifying growers trading plants within and across state borders.
New South Wales has similar legislation that will come into effect later in 2017, and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) is continuing to work with other states to use the Queensland amendments as a model or guide for future changes. Many have already introduced ‘bridging authorities’ to allow BioSecure HACCP to function until permanent legislative changes are completed.
BioSecure HACCP is the on-farm biosecurity program for production nurseries, developed by NGIA and funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia, using the nursery industry research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government.
NGIA’s National Biosecurity Manager John McDonald said the changes came as a welcome breakthrough that would streamline interstate trade for BioSecure HACCP certified production nurseries.
“BioSecure HACCP was developed because we recognised there were some obvious gaps and hazards within the industry when it came to managing pests, diseases and weeds,” Mr McDonald said.
“Once the procedures and records were developed to manage those hazards at critical control points, we realised the growers following this system were reaching the point where they deserved government recognition for interstate and intrastate market access.”
Plants and other produce being moved interstate needs to meet the quarantine entry requirements specified for that receiving jurisdiction. Once approved in Queensland under the new Act, NGIA will be able to use BioSecure HACCP to accredit businesses to issue biosecurity certificates; the first non-government entity to do so in Australia.
“This new system will allow participating production nurseries to save thousands of dollars a year by replacing external biosecurity inspections with those carried out by skilled personnel on-farm,” Mr McDonald said.
“Using the online data management system and electronic certification provides efficiencies in administration, lowers costs, and offers much greater flexibility when it comes to interstate and intrastate plant movements, alongside enhanced traceability.
“Now that Queensland has taken the first step, we’re confident other states and territories will follow suit, and we’ll be working hard to encourage them to amend or add to their biosecurity legislation to recognise third party accrediting authorities.
“The aim is to develop a common legal framework across Australia that will allow production nurseries to streamline their access to interstate trade and create greater efficiencies along the supply chain.”