Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner
Exercise To Test Interstate Biosecurity Response
Victor P Taffa
Interstate rivalries will be put on hold next week, during an exercise to determine how Queensland and New South Wales respond in the event of a biosecurity incident affecting both states.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said more than 260 people from across Australia would participate from 5 – 9 March 2018, making it the biggest functional biosecurity exercise undertaken in Australia in the last decade.
“Pest and disease incursions have the real potential to damage Australia’s vital $50 Billion food and fibre industries.” Minister Furner said.
“That is why it is important to run programs such as Exercise Border Bridge, which help ensure government and industry are ready to respond to biosecurity emergencies.”
“Exercise demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to improving the state’s preparedness capability, as identified in the Queensland Biosecurity Capability Review we commissioned in 2015.”
“By delivering training programs such as this exercise, and establishing external networks of expertise, we are further strengthening our response capabilities every day.” Minister Furner said.
“Exercise Border Bridge is a scenario-based program that will focus on how Queensland communicates and collaborates with its biosecurity counterparts in New South Wales in cross border situations.”
“Exercise will involve staff from Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and representatives of other jurisdictions and Australia’s plant and livestock industries.”
“Participants will be based either in the joint Local Control Centre in Toowoomba or the State Coordination Centres in Brisbane and Orange in New South Wales.” Minister Furner said.
Minister Furner said the exercise would focus on the use of legislation, IT systems and existing arrangements to respond to a biosecurity incident.
“Exercise Border Bridge provides an opportunity to assess how recently introduced legislation in both states will be implemented equitably and consistently in cross-border situations.” Minister Furner said.
“Exercise will also integrate the National Biosecurity Response Team, which is a trained group of government personnel from across the country with the essential skills to respond to biosecurity incidents.”
“Exercise Border Bridge is the culmination of a series of exercises that commenced in late 2017.”
“These exercises provide valuable training opportunities and build on existing skills, knowledge and experience so we can respond effectively to biosecurity incidents.” Minister Furner said.