New way to control biosecurity risks
A NEW and improved approach for analysing biosecurity risks has been introduced, and has apparently already been effective in enhancing Australia's management of major biosecurity pest groups.
The group pest risk analysis (PRA) will make the import process more effective and consistent, said Lyn O'Connell, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agrilculture and Water Resource.
"A PRA is the process of determining whether an organism is a pest, whether it should be regulated, and the strength of any biosecurity measures needed to combat it," she said.
"The group approach to PRAs provides a 'big picture' understanding of the biosecurity risks posed by major pest groups with similar biological characteristics."
The first group PRA looks at risks associated with plant-eating insects called thrips, as well as plant diseases called tospoviruses which are spread by thrips on fruit, vegetables and foliage imports.
"Through the first group PRA we confirmed 80 thrips species and 27 tospoviruses as qarantine pests for Australia," Ms O'Connell said.
The draft report proposes a change to the biosecurity status of three thrips species, which will mitigate the risk of these introducing exotic tospoviruses.
A separate review is now underway for nursery stock imports, which may be another pathway for the introduction of tospoviruses.