Biosecurity and agricultural trade a key industry focus for economic recovery plan

Matthew Morgan

As part of the national economic recovery plan in the Federal Budget 2021/22, agriculture has been identified as a key industry of focus with $371 million in funding allocated for improved biosecurity and access to international markets for agricultural traders.

Announcing the funding the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said, "This investment is about building a protective ring around Australia to safeguard our industry as well as the rural and regional communities that depend on it.

“We need to make sure agriculture continues to play a leading role in our national economic recovery."

Some of the measures within the Budget relating to biosecurity and support for agricultural traders include:

Modernisation of biosecurity Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) systems, technology and data analytics

  • $31.2 million over four years from 2021-22 (and $1.5 million ongoing) to deliver digital capability for biosecurity screening of incoming international mail through new technology.
  • $28.7 million over four years from 2021-22 to upgrade the Maritime Arrivals and Reporting System to more accurately predict biosecurity risks of aircraft and vessels, and their cargo.
  • $19.5 million over two years from 2021-22 to trial pre-border biosecurity screening technology on travellers and air cargo.
  • $1.5 million in 2021-22 for a business case to improve systems that support the management of container cargo risk.

Strengthening biosecurity partnerships with importers, companies, producers and the community

  • $96.9 million over four years from 2021-22 to manage the biosecurity risk posed by hitchhiker pests arriving in imported cargo, which will be partially cost recovered from industry, consistent with the Australian Government Charging Framework.
  • $67.4 million over four years from 2021-22 (and $13.1 million ongoing) to ensure Australia continues to have a robust biosecurity preparedness and response capability in the event of a pest and disease outbreak.

Support for trade and production in agricultural markets

  • $72.7 million over three years from 2020-21 to support food and agriculture exporters to maintain, diversify or expand their export markets through the Agri Business Expansion Initiative.
  • $15.0 million over four years from 2021-22 to enhance our representation and promotion of Australia's interests in international flora and standard setting bodies.

Speaking as part of the pre-Budget announcement, Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, said that the funding demonstrated the Government’s “commitment to the agriculture sector and unique environment.”

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