Stronger safeguards against exotic pests and diseases

May 7, 2021

Wide Bay’s farms and natural environment will be protected from exotic pests and diseases with a new $371 million investment to strengthen biosecurity, Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien announced.

The package complements significant reforms the Australian Government has committed to across the biosecurity system to ensure it is modern, efficient and keeps Australia safe from risks such as African swine fever, khapra beetle or foot and mouth disease.

Mr O’Brien said Australia’s world-leading biosecurity system was critical to protect the environment, agricultural industry and local jobs, including Wide Bay producers, farmers, freight drivers and packers.

“Our top-notch biosecurity system protects us from the world’s most severe pests and diseases, and protects $53 billion in agricultural exports and 1.6 million Australian jobs across the supply chain,” Mr O’Brien said.

“In Wide Bay Burnett alone, our agricultural industries are worth more than $1.3 billion every year, so the biosecurity system is absolutely essential to safeguard the health of our communities, environment and the national economy.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said protecting our disease-free status delivers access to premium global markets and generates real, significant benefits for agriculture.

“We are protecting industry as well as rural and regional communities like those in Wide Bay that depend on it, and ensuring agriculture continues playing a leading role in Australia’s national economic recovery,” Minister Littleproud said.

The package comes immediately after a record $888 million Australian Government investment in biosecurity and export services in 2020-21 and includes: 

  • $84 million towards critical frontline resources and people to better manage the risk of pests and diseases coming to Australia, including more on the ground resources to target known and emerging threats, like African swine fever.
  • $80.9 million to build a modern, effective biosecurity system underpinned by the right technology and analytical capabilities.
  • $205.9 million to strengthen partnerships with importers, companies, producers, state and territory governments and the community to improve our ability to detect and manage threats offshore, while increasing capacity to respond to incursions. Proof of concept trials will explore options for faster, safe, clearance of low-risk goods. 

Fast facts

  • Recent University of Melbourne Centre for Excellence in Biosecurity Risk Analysis modelling puts the net present value of the biosecurity system at $314 billion over 50 years.
  • This means a $30 return on investment for every dollar we spend on biosecurity over the next 50 years.
  • The national biosecurity system is a key contributor to our farming systems, the wider economy, our environment and biodiversity, our human health and the social fabric of our country. 
  •   Last year there were over 2.5 million container arrivals into Australia, 19,000 commercial vessel arrivals and 60 million mail items. 


In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.