Biosecurity on growers' agenda

The West Australian
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In a bid to protect Australian vineyards against biosecurity threats, Wine Grape Growers Australia has recruited Rachel Barratt as national winegrape biosecurity program co-ordinator.

In the next 12 months, Ms Barratt will be responsible for setting up the Winegrape Biosecurity Industry Reference Group to drive industry policy and strategy, working with other industries and government, and establishing long-term funding for the function.

Previously an independent consultant, Ms Barratt was employed by the former South Australian Department of Water as director of strategy, and has managed a variety of SA Government projects.

WGGA chairman and grape grower Vic Patrick said Ms Barratt would help the association take the lead in progressing biosecurity on behalf of growers across Australia.

"We need the support of the whole sector to make this work, including from our research organisation, the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, which has identified biosecurity as a priority," he said.

"You only have to look at the Papaya Fruit Fly outbreak in Queensland to see just how much a major pest or disease outbreak can cost an industry.

"We want to make sure we never have an outbreak like that through wise investment in prevention, strategy development and awareness activities."

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