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Excellence has been recognised at the Australian Biosecurity Awards which celebrates individuals, groups and organisations that support and improve Australia’s biosecurity systems.

The NPBDN would like to congratulate all winners, including those announced earlier this year and Professor Brendan Rodoni, the Chair of the Subcommittee of Plant Health Diagnostics.

The winners of round two were announced Monday 9 November at the 2020 Australian Biosecurity Awards ceremony. Videos of the ceremony will be available from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website soon.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud said the annual awards are an important recognition of those making vital contributions to protecting our enviable biosecurity status.

“Biosecurity is a shared responsibility. Government, industry and the community all have an essential role to play in safeguarding Australia from biosecurity risks,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Australia’s biosecurity system supports our way of life, our nearly $60 billion in agricultural production and $49 billion in agricultural export. All vital contributors to jobs and growth, particularly in regional and rural Australia.

“Biosecurity is a critical part of the government’s efforts to prevent, respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Australian Government is committed to a strong biosecurity system and it is important to recognise those who provide vital contributions to our enviable pest and disease status.

More information about the Australian Biosecurity Awards is available here.  

Award recipients

The round 2 winners are listed below. Details about each recipient is available in the round 2 winners’ booklet.

Dr Kim Ritman Award for Science and Innovation

  • Professor Brendan Rodoni, Agriculture Victoria & La Trobe University (Vic) – Over his 35-year career, Brendan has been a leading scientist and educator in Australia and overseas. He has made a large contribution to plant virology and bacteriology research.

Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year

  • Kia Ora Merino (Vic) – The Finnigan family, through their farming business Kia Ora Merino, are leaders in on-farm biosecurity, sustainable land management and animal welfare practices. They have also influenced farmers in the area to take biosecurity measures.
  • KW Orchards (NSW) – After Weel & Heredics Northern Territory melon farm was impacted by cucumber green mottle mosaic virus in 2014, owner Kees Weel became a strong advocate for proactive biosecurity measures. KW Orchards regularly attends and holds industry events to encourage other producers to adopt farm biosecurity plans.

Environmental Biosecurity Award

  • Dr Geoff Pegg, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Qld) – Geoff has made a significant contribution to Australia’s environmental biosecurity by leading and managing incursions of pests that can affect the environment.
  • Dr David Abdo, DHI Water and Environment Pty Ltd (Australia) and Dr Justin McDonald, Aquatic Pest Biosecurity, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA) – DHI Water and Environment Pty Ltd Australia, and Aquatic Pest Biosecurity DPIRD developed Vessel Check. This reporting tool helps prevent marine pests being introduced in Australian waters through biofouling. It is a world-first and cost-effective tool for marine biosecurity.

Education Award

  • Hagley Farm School Visitor Centre and Department of Education – Revitalising School Farms Initiative (Tas) – The Tasmanian Department of Education and the Hagley Farm School Visitor Centre are working together to educate primary and secondary school students on biosecurity through the Revitalising School Farms initiative.

 Community Award

  • Biosecurity Queensland’s Panama TR4 Program (Qld) – The Panama TR4 Program managed the response to the Panama disease tropical race 4 in Queensland. The team made an outstanding contribution to plant health by managing the impact of this devastating disease to Australia’s banana industry and associated communities.
  • Wellesley Islands Rangers (Qld) – The Wellesley Islands Rangers are part of the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program. The team plays a crucial role in protecting northern Australia from new pests, weeds and diseases.
  • Mr Brett Burdett (ACT) – In August 2020 Brett and his wife Donna noticed unusual insects in their new refrigerator. They reported this to the department and the insects were identified as khapra beetle. Thanks to Brett’s report and cooperation, the risk posed to Australia from this damaging pest was effectively managed.

Biosecurity Commendation Certificate

  • Ms Kate Elliot, Farrer Primary School – for teaching the importance of biosecurity to students and developing a card game that raises awareness of national plant priority pests.
  • Mrs Kathryn Glanville, Namadgi School – for teaching the importance of biosecurity to students and developing a card game that raises awareness of national plant priority pests.
  • Dr Ed Morton, Rapiscan Solutions – for leading development of the algorithms for Rapiscan RTT110 3D x-ray, the world’s first biosecurity risk material auto-detection unit.
  • Mr Mervyn Buffett, Norfolk Island apiarist – for his efforts in protecting Norfolk Island’s bees from pest and disease incursions.
  • Ms Clare McPherson, Norfolk Island apiarist – for her efforts in protecting Norfolk Island’s bees from pest and disease incursions.

Acknowledgement: reproduced from a media release by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment