Biosecurity job cuts puts our clean food reputation at risk: WA farmers

Australia's reputation as a clean, green food producer is under threat with the Federal Department of Agriculture announcing it's to cut 220 jobs, with biosecurity staff the first in line.

West Australian farmers say this will threaten the country' reputation as a clean food producer, with WAFarmers president, Dale Park, arguing biosecurity staff play an essential role in keeping the food producing industry free from harmful pests and diseases, thewest.com.au reports.

"They are taking dangerous risks with our industry and as the foot and mouth study highlighted the cost of vigilance is far, far lower than the potential cost losing markets and our ability to produce clean and green food," Park said.

The study Park refers to is a new costing model from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), released one month ago, which found that a foot and mouth disease outbreak would cost Australia $50 billion over a decade.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is offering voluntary redundancies to staff in its border compliance division in Canberra – which plays a key tole in manaing biosecurity protection – as well as the passenger, mail and cargo programs in the regions.



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