Graham Schultz from Primary Industries’ Biosecurity and Product Integrity Unit recently spoke at the Gulf land management field day. The Unit is responsible for preparing response to plant and animal disease introductions.
Graham discussed numerous control programs being run in Australia, including the red fire ant, a major threat to the cattle industry being controlled in Queensland that has cost more than $200 million. Graham said that an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Australia would cost twice that and could be as high as $2 billion if it lasted 12 months.
Industry needs to be involved in preparing for responses to these outbreaks. When a control program starts, a state control centre is set up that needs people from industry who can talk and make decisions for industry. Local control centres are also set up to direct work at ground level.
There are currently four courses available in the field of Biosecurity:
The first level course is called Emergency Response Awareness Level 1 (ERAL1). This two day course covers the requirements to work in a Control Centre for an animal, plant or marine incursion. Graham hopes to run a course in Darwin and a second in Katherine early in 2013, and a course could also be run in the Gulf. Tocal College NSW is the Registered Training Authority (RTO) and have started charging $60 for the issuing of certificates which may need to be passed on in the future.
The second course is called an Incident Management Team (IMT) course for the Management Team leading a response. This is a two day course that has been free in the past but this could change in the future. You need to do the ERAL1 course first to make sense of the IMT.
The third is an Industry Liaison Course (ILO). This is a one day course designed for industry personnel who need to represent their industry in a response. If interest continues the next course could be in the Gulf in February.
The fourth course was developed from the ILO and covers the needs of small communities and how it could affect them if a large response is being undertaken in their area. This course is also one day.
All the courses can be undertaken anywhere a interested group can be brought together. Graham would prefer at least 6-8 people and a maximum of about 20. Courses can be tailored to suit the client needs.