Australia’s biosecurity system is a vital part of safeguarding our primary industries, our environment and our communities. A new website released on 19 August will help Australians find out what we need to know and do.
Beta.biosecurity.gov.au is designed to be a clear and intuitive website with links to biosecurity information from federal, state and territory governments, industry and environmental organisations and research bodies. It is Australia’s biosecurity website.
Users will discover how biosecurity relates to them, learn what they can do to reduce risks and find out how to report a concern.
The Australian Government, state and territory governments, industry and environmental groups have worked together to deliver this website, which will be a central hub for Australia’s biosecurity information.
The decision to develop the new national website follows a recent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity.
Released as a beta website, the feedback and analytics gathered in the first eight weeks after release will guide the next round of developments to the website. The input of real users will be vital to make sure Australia’s biosecurity website meets all of our needs.
Lyn O’Connell, head of the biosecurity function and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, said the website is vital in providing biosecurity information to a wide range of stakeholders, including state and territory agencies, industry, environmental groups, research bodies and other government agencies.
‘You can be one of the first to explore beta.biosecurity.gov.au. Your feedback will help us understand what does and doesn’t work across the site to build a better service.’
‘The website will provide information to the National Biosecurity Committee and its sub-committees, and website users can discover information about how to reduce biosecurity risks and how to report a concern.
‘The website is being developed based on personas, ranging from a beekeeper to a boat owner, an international traveller to a primary producer, and an animal owner to a pest and weed manager.’ Ms O’Connell said.
Visit beta.biosecurity.gov.au and provide feedback to help improve the site.
NRM WA has just released its 2019 Election Strategy of ‘Enabling Prosperity’, setting out an ambitious, four-year election ask to address environmental issues that limit environmental, economic and social prosperity. The release occurs in the shadow of an alarming report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released earlier this month.
‘Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely’, the IPBES warns.
‘The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,’ said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. ‘The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.’
‘It’s not too late to make a difference, and local and regional NRM groups are still in the fight across WA, despite major funding cuts over the last few years,’ said Dr Rob Keogh, Chair of NRM WA.
NRM WA is the peak body representing the seven regional NRM organisations across WA. Collectively we represent thousands of community groups, landholders and volunteers. NRM is the sustainable management of natural resources such as land, water, marine and biological systems. It brings together the people and places of Western Australia to find practical solutions to common issues faced by land and sea managers.
Dr Keogh went on to say: ‘Local and regional communities of WA have an urgent message to all parties contesting the 2019 election- that more can be done, WA shows clear indications of being negatively affected by a rapidly changing climate. We profoundly value our landscapes and communities. Help us and work with us, by providing additional funding for our practical initiatives to combat and adapt to that change.’
Find the Enabling Prosperity strategy at: https://www.enablingprosperity.com
If you don’t already know about it, we recommend checking out PestSmart Connect which distils 12 years of research on best practice pest animal management. PestSmart prides itself on making freely available pest animal information toolkits which incorporate factsheets, case studies, glovebox guides, videos and more – all available online – www.pestsmart.org.au. Information is available on wild dogs, rabbits, foxes, feral pigs…the list goes on. The toolkits are becoming well known and utilised as a digital resource for land managers wanting to learn more about pest animal management.
This is your chance to enhance PestSmart and help the team tailor the update of the website to suit your needs.
The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions are conducting research into digital information and tools that might be useful for people with a role or interest in pest animal management. They want to hear from both users and non-users of PestSmart – so please take a few minutes to complete this short anonymous survey, open until the 10 March.
Farmers across eastern Australia are facing the prospect of a dry summer on the back of a long period of below average rainfall.
Short term assistance packages can help farmers through the worst of these periods however, a recent research report by the University of Canberra has highlighted the importance of natural resource management in improving resilience to drought conditions over the long term.
“This report gives us valuable insights into how NRM programs can bring farming and landscape benefits beyond the typical outcomes of weed control, better grazing practices or threatened species management,” NRM Regions Australia, Executive Officer Kate Andrews said.
“While it’s long been known that NRM can have flow-on benefits, we don’t always have the analytics to demonstrate this.
“Learning more about what NRM actions bring the most benefits in combating the effects of drought will help in building more robust and targeted programs in the future.”
The research found that many NRM investments improved resilience to drought. One of the most important actions identified was in regards to helping farmers to plan for and manage risk. Other beneficial activities identified were supporting graziers to manage groundcover, control of feral animals, improved water use efficiency, and building feed reserves.
The research outcomes underscore the importance of the link between natural resource management and agriculture, acknowledged in the Memorandum of Understanding the NFF has with NRM Regions Australia which was signed during 2017.
National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President, Fiona Simson, welcomed the report.
“Farming communities and NFF are concerned about the resilience of farmers and their enterprises in times of drought.
“We are pleased to see analysis that adds evidence-based insights into how we can build resilience to drought and which explores tax deductible insurance premiums.”
Climate models predict more frequent warmer and drier periods across Australia, and helping farmers better prepare for this eventuality is critical to sustaining our industry.
Natural resource management bodies based regionally across Australia are responding to this challenge via a range of targeted programs including grants and landholder workshops, and improved soil, water and grazing management.
The University of Canberra research report provides additional evidence to support the work already underway and provides scope for improvements to how such programs are rolled out, communicated, or adapted.
For more information and case studies highlighting the benefits of NRM programs to farmers in improving drought resilience, check out our section on Building Drought Resilience in our Knowledge Bank section.