Government drops 42 pest and diseases as biosecurity reform is rushed through NSW parliament

MEDIA RELEASE – 4 November 2014

The Greens NSW agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has today called on the NSW Government not to rush a major overhaul of the state’s biosecurity laws through parliament without proper consultation and the development of the accompanying regulations, as it was revealed the new legislation is missing 42 currently listed pests and diseases of plants.

“It is unbelievable that the government has bungled to leave off 42 types of pests and diseases from the new legislation and is an indication that this legislation is half-baked and needs to be withdrawn for thorough consultation process,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Pests and diseases missing from the legislation include: three species of fire ant; citrus canker; the varroa mite; potato wart; grape root rot; Karnal bunt; kernel smut of rice; and wheat aphid.

“Biosecurity is one of the biggest threats to agriculture and the health of our environment and I am extremely concerned that the Baird Government is intending to rush through major changes to biosecurity, with major omissions and before anyone has had a chance to see the vital accompanying regulations.

“Without the regulations, the Greens are concerned that cost pressures may lead to the government weakening protections and risking bio-security.  The current government has already cut 50 staff from biosecurity since coming to office.

“It is clear that having sat on their hands for three years, the Nationals want to get this Bill through before the election, but biosecurity is far too important to be sacrificed to political expediency,” said Mr Buckingham.

The Biosecurity Bill 2014 will lead to the repeal of 13 important Acts including those that address animal pests and diseases, weeds and feral animal control, chemical residues , fertilisers, stock foods and medicine and fisheries management.

Contact: Jack Gough – 9230 2470 or 0427 713 101

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