Avocados Australia Limited tests biosecurity protocols

The response to detections of new plant pests in Australia that could adversely affect Australian avocado growers remains a key focus of Avocados Australia Ltd (AAL). Recently key stakeholders came together to test Avocados Australia’s biosecurity protocols.

Responses to the detection of these pests are managed in accordance with the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (‘the EPPRD’).  The EPPRD is a legally binding agreement made between Plant Health Australia (PHA), the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, and plant industry signatories.  The EPPRD addresses the management and funding of responses to emergency plant pest incidents, including the potential for owner reimbursement costs for growers.  Notifications of new pest detections under the EPPRD are considered carefully by AAL as a signatory to the Deed.

To support industry preparedness, Avocados Australia (AAL) in partnership with PHA has developed a Biosecurity Incident Standard Operating Procedure (BISOP) under the Hort Innovation project ‘Avocado Industry Biosecurity Strategy 2022 – 2026’ that clearly documents the ‘what, how, when and why’ in responding to exotic pest detections that could impact Australian avocado growers.

The AAL BISOP and its underlying decision-making processes were recently tested on 25 October 2023 as part of a scenario-based emergency plant pest detection response exercise – ‘Exercise Proteger’.  Participants included all AAL Board members, AAL CEO John Tyas, Grant Telford (Biosecurity Strategy Project Manager), Anna Petrou (AAL Communications Manager) and Louise Dunker (AAL Finance Manager).  The exercise was facilitated by Naomi Wynn (PHA Learning and Development Manager) and Susanna Driessen (PHA General Manager of Emergency Response).

Learnings from the exercise will be used to refine AAL’s BISOP further.

Also of note, AAL’s new Board Director Chip Saint has taken on the role of National Management Group representative under the Deed, and we would like to thank Tristate Board Director Kym Thiel for his prior service in this role.

This article is part of the Guacamole enewsletter issued on 10 November 2023.

Author: Grant Telford
Date Published: 10/11/2023