Working together critical on biosecurity says Anderson

Working together critical on biosecurity says Anderson

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Former deputy PM John Anderson has called for the government, the health sector and agriculture to minimise biosecurity risks.

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John Anderson, chairman of the Crawford Fund, has spoke of the need for a concerted effort in managing bisoecurity risks.

John Anderson, chairman of the Crawford Fund, has spoke of the need for a concerted effort in managing bisoecurity risks.

Rising population density and mobility, growing global trade, greater loss of natural habitat and environmental degradation and the impacts of climate change are all adding to the increasing threats to food security and health.

This was the stark message from former deputy prime minister John Anderson, speaking at the Crawford Fund international conference recently.

Mr Anderson, now chairman of the Crawford Fund, an organisation dedicated to boosting Australian involvement in world agricultural research and development, said COVID-19 highlighted how important the overlap between agriculture, trade and health was in terms of biosecurity.

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"In particular, with human and agriculture biosecurity a shared responsibility between commonwealth and state governments and industry, they should work closer together now that we know that they share risks from existing and emerging pest and diseases," Mr Anderson said.

"State and federal government departments and industry across health and agriculture should share the lessons each has learned during their battle against COVID-19 and during the years of success of Australian agricultural biosecurity measures," he said.

"This would improve not only our systems for future human health pandemics but also help agriculture's constant battle against plant and animal pests and diseases in Australia and our region.

"If there's one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us, it's the importance of working together domestically and internationally, including on first rate research and development," he said.

Mr Anderson flagged the possibility of the broader health sector looking at biosecurity successes in Aussie ag.

"Australia is a world leader in agricultural research around biosecurity to keep our agricultural industries safe and help our neighbours," he said.

"There may well be lessons for the health sector to improve the way that our state and federal governments manage pandemics in the future, now we know the impact that zoonotic disease can have without vigilance, monitoring and global cooperation," said Mr Anderson.

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