Helping to strengthen Victoria's biosecurity system for the future will be the key focus of the inaugural Victorian Biosecurity Reference Group when it meets for the first-time next month.
Eleven members with experience, knowledge and skills in biosecurity operations, science and managing risks, as well as agriculture policy, citizen expertise and community engagement, biosecurity science and managing biosecurity risks have been appointed to the new group.
It's been established as part of the Victorian government's $28 million program to strengthen the state's biosecurity system.
Agriculture Victoria's Biosecurity Services executive director Katherine Clift said it was encouraging to see the response to the call for Biosecurity Reference Group nominees.
That demonstrated how invested industry and community members were in their desire to help contribute to a stronger biosecurity system for Victoria, and to be part of the process.
"Biosecurity is key to not only protecting our agriculture sector, but also our environment, biodiversity, cultural heritage, economy and way of life," she said.
The Biosecurity Reference Group was established in response to calls from industry and the community to establish stronger partnerships with government on biosecurity and for more formal opportunities for non-government stakeholders to have input into decision-making.
"Reference Group members will play an important role in providing feedback to Agriculture Victoria on proposed investments and activities to help ensure they are practical and relevant to industry and community," Dr Clift said.
The Biosecurity Reference Group members are:
- Landcare Victoria chief executive , Andrew McLean
- Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria policy and technical manager David Reid
- Victorian Farmers Federation vice president Danyel Cucinotta.
- Victorian Rabbit Action Network chair Gerald Leach.
- Dr Hugh Millar, Victorian Division of the Australian Veterinary Association president Dr Hugh Millar.
- Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association southern regional manager Liz Summerville.
- Victorian Blackberry Taskforce chair Lyn Coulston.
- Australian Table Grape Industry development manager Jenny Treeby.
- Citrus Australia National Biosecurity manager Dr Jessica Lye.
- Biosecurity Advisory Service principal consultant Dr Ron Glanville.
- Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (University of Melbourne) chief investigator Professor Tom Kompas.
A further two members representing the aquaculture and grains sectors will be added soon.
Dr Clift said the establishment of the Biosecurity Reference Group was an important step towards a stronger biosecurity system that can reduce, respond to and manage increasing biosecurity risks.
"The work of this group will ensure the system is better prepared, more adaptive, and resilient - ultimately protecting Victoria's economy, environment, and people," she said.
"Importantly, the Biosecurity Reference Group will also ensure industry and community views continue to shape the future of biosecurity in Victoria."
The first meeting of the Biosecurity Reference group will be held on March 28.