Submission to discussion paper: managing established pests and diseases of national significance – Jul 2015

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Submission to a federal government discussion paper:  ‘Modernising Australia’s approach to managing established pests and diseases of national significance’.

The Invasive Species Council endorses the underpinning concepts of national coordination and collaboration however some of the principles and statements in the paper flag a narrow role for governments and offer poorly justified criteria for selecting nationally significant invasive species.

Our submission includes 18 recommendations and flags the need:

  • to fully apply our environmental responsibilities,
  • to act early, especially before there is full certainty,
  • to learn from our existing attempts such as WoNS and threat abatement (under EPBC Act),
  • to incorporate containment as a strategy,
  • for government to take a leadership role and genuinely involve the community,
  • to protect environmental values on private land,
  • to invest in public interest actions (as opposed to private interests), for research and management,
  • to acknowledge that regulation and enforcement are important tools,
  • to develop ways to incorporate environmental impacts into cost-benefit analyses,
  • to identify risk creators to take responsibility.

The proposed new direction is unclear. The paper either signifies an exciting new era with nationally coordinated, well-planned, collaborative, innovative efforts to protect biodiversity from the most harmful invasive species or government retreat from all but a few popular causes. We are concerned that environmental threats will mostly be neglected under this framework.

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