Partnership to fortify plant biosecurity
Australian biosecurity has received another boost after the nation’s seven plant Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry renewed a partnership to tackle the nation’s most prolific pests and diseases.
Since it was established in 2017, the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) has focused on preparedness, diagnostics, surveillance, and sustainable management technologies, targeting key pests and diseases that put our plant industries at risk.
A recent independent review revealed the initiative has achieved its goals of prioritising and delivering collaborative plant biosecurity RD&E, tackling pests and diseases such as Xylella and fall armyworm.
PBRI program director Jo Luck said over the life of the program the RDC’s and partners have invested close to $70M into 22 collaborative projects that have fortified Australia against key threats and enacted fast responses across industries to help limit exposure to these pests.
“The model of the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative works,” she said. “By joining efforts, Australia’s plant-focused research and development corporations have been able to manage pests and diseases that present a mutual challenge to our industries in an efficient and effective way.”
Dr Luck said now the new agreement is signed, the group is planning for the next five years and beyond.
“The PBRI will be investing in more projects that go beyond today’s problems and look to the future. We will deliver impact by inviting more diverse partnerships to ensure we lead world class innovation that keeps Australian plant industries globally competitive.
“For example, we will be working together on new concepts for tracing plant biosecurity threats using genomic analysis and improving surveillance technology to strengthen our ability to detect and respond to pest incursions in regional Australia.”
Other examples of research coordinated and supported by the PBRI, and its partners include:
• $3M to understand the risk of native insects vectoring Xylella in Australia and New Zealand
• $15.7M to boost diagnostic capacity for plant production industries
• $21.6M to monitor airborne pests and diseases to aid on-farm pest decision-making.
The PBRI has also created networks to enable the sharing of knowledge and tools across plant industries in Australia such as the Biosecurity Extension Community (BEC) and with a focus on the future, it has facilitated a new network of students that dedicate their research to supporting the health of plant industries and the environment.
The PBRI will also support capability building and maintain partnerships with national and international organisations with partners such as Better Border Biosecurity (B3) New Zealand, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Euphresco (European Plant Health Research Coordination network) and the Australian Plant Health Committee.
Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative members co-contributing funds include the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; AgriFutures Australia; Cotton Research and Development Corporation; Forest & Wood Products Australia; Grains Research and Development Corporation; Hort Innovation, Sugar Research Australia; and Wine Australia.Back to news