Hort Innovation has thrown its support behind a new joint initiative to combat threats to plant biosecurity.
Cemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and New Zealand, the Trans-Tasman collaborative, led by Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) and New Zealand’s Better Border Biosecurity (B3NZ), will focus on biosecurity Research, Development and Extension efforts at pre-border, border and post-border stages.
The initiative also aims to build capacity to support the future of plant biosecurity through education and training, and will establish professional development opportunities for postgraduate and post-doctoral students across the two countries.
Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand said Australia and New Zealand both pride themselves on their unique natural environment, high-quality produce and trusted international reputation.
“And both Australia and New Zealand share a common goal of wanting to maintain this reputation and impede the destructive impact that the threat of pest and disease can have on our horticultural industries,” he said.
“Through Hort Innovation’s involvement in the PBRI, we are helping to drive a new era in Australian biosecurity research.
“Our role as a Research and Development Corporation is to invest in, manage and evaluate research and other activities that deliver impact for our producers and the broader community.
“This project is of national and international importance because not only are we at the forefront – working together across plant production systems to stamp out threats before they can establish and take root, we are also working with New Zealand industries and government to protect our growers from biosecurity threats to promote greater efficiencies across our R&D investments.”
PBRI program director, Dr Jo Luck, said this R&D partnership was helping to foster collaboration at an international level, sharing knowledge to avoid duplication of efforts for the benefits of Australia’s plant biosecurity.
“This collaboration will be implemented via joint R&D projects and workshops supported by PBRI and B3 investors, and delivered by Australian and New Zealand researchers,” she said.
“One of the key components of our success will be building biosecurity awareness and attitudes through stronger partnerships with industry and all levels of government.”
“The collaborative RD&E proposed in this MOU will support the development of new tools to engage growers and the broader community, support business continuity during incursions, and minimise negative social impacts of common biosecurity threats.”
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