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The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Orange Agricultural Institute was granted a unique opportunity last August when the office of the NSW Governor, her excellency the honourable Margaret Beazley requested a tour.   

The itinerary included presentations and discussion with senior research scientists Dr Andrew McConnachie and Dr Peter Fleming, from Invasive Species Biosecurity, showcasing the weed biocontrol quarantine facility and research, and innovative strategies for vertebrate pest management.   

Karen Roberts, senior emergency management officer showed off all the bells and whistles in the recently opened and very busy State Coordination Centre. This dedicated facility has vastly improved NSW DPI’s ability to respond to emergencies of natural disasters and biosecurity threats. In the last year alone the emergency management team has worked on Japanese encephalitis, White spot, Khapra beetle, and Varroa mite whilst also responding to fires and floods.   

The Biosecurity Collections put on a presentation with a personal touch, displaying specimens from where and when her excellency was born, went to school, graduated university, and became governor whilst also demonstrating the range of specimen storage and collection types from crop and ornamental pathogens to native species. The vice regal couple were very interested in the Varroa response and chatted at length about operations and the biology of the mite.  

This was a great opportunity for NSW DPI to stress the importance of biosecurity and present the highly specialised and unique roles that their staff play in Australia’s biosecurity system. 

NSW Governor, her excellency the honourable Margaret Beazley with Peter Gillespie in the Insect Collection. 

Dr Peter Fleming and Dr Andrew McConnachie (left to right).

NSW Governor, her excellency the honourable Margaret Beazley looking at Varroa mites on a sticky mat.

Herbarium specimens selected with a personal touch.