01 April 2022, AU: The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has signed an agreement with Charles Sturt University (CSU) to deliver a new Biosecurity Training Centre to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity capability.
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Australia’s Director of Biosecurity Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO strongly welcomed the agreement.
“We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with CSU to strengthen Australia’s preparedness and resilience against biosecurity threats,” Mr Metcalfe said.
“The centre will replace the previous decentralised training arrangements and ensure the most modern training arrangements are available to all biosecurity officers across Australia.
“A centralised hub in Wagga Wagga in regional Australia, with additional training facilities in several state capitals and access to research capability, will support our training requirements and build a future ready, skilled and agile workforce.
“Australia’s biosecurity system relies on strong partnerships across government, industry, the community and with other countries to help manage pest and disease risks.
“People underpin our entire system and the Biosecurity Training Centre will offer greater professionalism, structure and rigour to ensure our regulatory teams have the best training program possible.”
Head of the Biosecurity Group within the department and Chair of the National Biosecurity Committee, Deputy Secretary Mr Andrew Tongue PSM, said the Biosecurity Training Centre will deliver specialised training for biosecurity staff to manage and respond to the increase in biosecurity risks in a challenging and changing environment.
“Global trade disruption is driving an ever-changing pest and disease threat that we must be able to respond to. The centre will provide the department with opportunity to work with our partners to increase our capability to respond to these threats, and in time, make training available to industry and Australia’s near-neighbours ,” Mr Tongue said.
“The establishment of a dedicated Biosecurity Training Centre is critical to ensure our officers have access to the best training and decision-making tools available to perform their roles as skilled and professional regulators, capable of making lawful, transparent, and accountable regulatory decisions.
“The new Biosecurity Training Centre is the cornerstone for the development of a Centre for Excellence for Biosecurity in the Asia Pacific Region. By 2024, the Centre of Excellence will support near-neighbours with expertise in pest and disease preparedness, response, and containment capabilities.
“We are incorporating new technologies, which CSU can support us with, in our training programs to provide contemporary modern ways to support our officers in understanding how important it is to protect our agricultural industry.”
Charles Sturt University is a leading university with a strong record of innovation in learning, an extensive history of collaboration with regulatory arms of government, and a reputation for excellence in fields associated with rural and regional issues. CSU also hosts a Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, a federal government initiative to support farmers and communities.
The Biosecurity Training Centre is expected to open for business on 1 July 2022 and will support the training of more than 300 biosecurity officers in its first year of operation.