The Senate has today backed an Australian Greens motion calling on the Government to rule out any push to integrate Australia's biosecurity operations into the new Australian Border Force Agency.
"The Senate has recognised the importance of well resourced, expert biosecurity operations in protecting Australia's biosecurity status and agricultural industry," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson said today.
"There is an inherent risk in merging biosecurity operations into the Australian Border Force Agency, which has been proposed as a potential cost cutting measure.
"A standalone biosecurity body is essential to protect agriculture and our environment from threats such as pests and diseases that can cause significant damage to industries and the communities that rely on them.
"Threats to biosecurity are increasing, and are magnified by issues such as climate change. This is not the time to be weakening our biosecurity defences, especially for the sake of cost cutting.
"Budget cuts cannot take precedence over protecting Australia's vital industries and our environment.
"I have no doubt that some members of the Government, along with Australia's rural communities, would have serious concerns with such a proposal.
"I urge the Government to act on the Senate's vote and maintain a standalone biosecurity agency," Senator Siewert concluded.