Primary Industries Legislation Amendment (Biosecurity) Bill 2012

The NSW Government has passed legislation to give new powers to manage the movement of plants and animals and undertake additional disease monitoring and surveillance. The intent is to protect the NSW Primary Industries sector and the environment for pests and diseases.

On the 29 th May 2012 NSW Government assented the Primary Industries Legislation Amendment (Biosecurity) Bill 2012 to amend the Animal Diseases (Emergency Outbreaks) Act 1991, the Fisheries Management Act 1994, the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 and the Plant Diseases Act 1924 to make further provision with respect to biosecurity; and for other purposes.

The Noxious Weed Act 1993 and the Plant Diseases Act 1991 are the main Acts relevant to the nursery and garden industry for growing, moving and selling plants and plant products.

Under the Plant Diseases Act 1991, the amendments provide more power to inspectors to enter a property to enforce the Act, introduce a quarantine period for up to 40 days where required, search documents/information and implement measures to respond to emergency plant pests.

In addition there are changes to the requirement to notify a notifiable pest and disease where the onus to notify applies to a much wider range of people including consultants, scientists besides land owners/occupiers who may have the pest in their possession. Moreover, the time frame states "as soon as possible", which would mean in most cases within 24 hours or less.

As for the list of notifiable pests, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) are currently reviewing this to bring it more into line with the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed to which the NGIA is a signatory.

The concern the NGIA has is the need to report/notify a notifiable pest when the list of pests is yet to be developed and industry do not have the tools and/or resources to detect what is a notifiable pest. Whilst the NGIA and NGINA have a number of resources in pest and disease management and Biosecurity resources we and/or NSW DPI do not have the ability to work with each business to train and prepare them of monitoring all pests.

For more information download Primary Industries Legislation Amendment (Biosecurity) Bill 2012 and/or contact Michael Danelon, Industry Development Officer NGINA.