Historic Biosecurity Bill for the coming decades
The numbers of people, animals, goods and vessels which travel across Australia’s borders are higher than ever.
With that in mind, Members of the House have debated the historic Biosecurity Bill 2014, which is set to modernise the now 107-year-old Quarantine Act 1908.
The Bill plans to simplify and streamline Australia’s biosecurity laws, whilst still ensuring the high standard of protection of Australia’s human, environmental and animal health.
The Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce MP (New England, NSW), said that in the past decade, the volume of air passengers that enter Australia has grown by 80 per cent, sea containers by 82 per cent and bulk cargo by 16 per cent.
“So we need legislation that not only safeguards our primary industries, our environment and our people from the increased threat of pest and disease, but also allows us to manage these movements in the most efficient way.
“This legislation is designed to support the biosecurity system in any age. During the development of the bill, we have worked with industry, stakeholders and state and territory governments to seek feedback and to ensure the legislation we put in place is robust and effective.
“Australia is free of many pests and diseases that are common around the world. This allows our famers to produce higher quality products and increases the demand for those products,” the Minister said.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon MP (Hunter, NSW) also supported the Bill and said that there is no doubt in his mind that over the course of the next 20 years our economy will transform substantially.
“We will be thinking more about what I like to describe as the dining boom. But the dining boom will not just come to us; we will need to go to it….For us it will not be about volume; it will be about quality and profits.
“With our limited natural resources, we cannot possibly triple or increase our food output fourfold or even greater. But what we can do is ensure that our limited natural resources are dedicated to the areas where we will secure the highest return and the highest quality jobs for Australians. Our advantage will only continue to exist if we maintain our clean, green, safe image,” the Shadow Minister said.
The Biosecurity Bill 2014 has passed the House of Representatives.