LUXTON WELCOMES CER PROGRESS ON BIOSECURITY ISSUES

  • John Luxton
Biosecurity

Biosecurity Minister John Luxton today welcomed the commitment between New Zealand and Australia to advance trans-Tasman co-operation on biosecurity matters. The accord comes as a result of a joint Ministerial agreement with Mr Luxton's Australian counterpart, the Hon Warren Truss, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

"New Zealand and Australian officials are working closely together to look at the national biosecurity policies of both countries and examine the biosecurity restrictions which may hinder trade. The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) and MAF have agreed to put on a more formal footing separate technical groups looking at animal and plant health and border operations."

"Preserving our excellent biosecurity status remains paramount for both countries and each party still retains the right to determine their own appropriate import requirements, while still maintaining consistency with the rights and obligations under the WTO."

The key areas where both countries have agreed to strengthen their ties on biosecurity issues are:

  • To review the consistency of the Australian and New Zealand approaches to pest and disease risk assessment;
  • To ensure that current biosecurity requirements are based on sound science;
  • Review current areas of concern;
  • Review the mechanisms of information exchange between the two countries.

"The on-going dialogue recognises not only the maturity of the relationship but also reinforces our CER commitments. It is common sense to work together where we can on biosecurity issues. I welcome any initiatives that strengthen ties with our closest trading partner," Mr Luxton concluded.

For further information please contact: Emma Reid Andrew Matheson Press Secretary International Agreements Manager (04) 471 9707 or (025) 433 716 (04) 474 4219

MINISTERIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON BIOSECURITY

The 1988 protocol to ANZCERTA on quarantine matters aimed to minimise restrictions on trans-Tasman trade whilst ensuring that measures necessary to protect animal and plant health were maintained. Each party to the Agreement retains the right to determine the appropriate measures, consistent with the rights and obligations of Australia and New Zealand as Members of the World Trade Organisation.

Australian and New Zealand quarantine authorities have met frequently since 1988 to discuss bilateral and multilateral quarantine matters. A number of specific quarantine issues have been resolved over this period, and a number of others are under active consideration at the present time.

In view of the importance of maintaining biosecurity and of enhancing opportunities for trans-Tasman trade, we [signatories to be Ministers for agriculture/biosecurity] have agreed to strengthen the on-going dialogue on trans-Tasman biosecurity issues. In this process the relevant agencies will:

  • examine the procedures of each party for establishing and implementing quarantine requirements applicable to trans-Tasman trade, including in particular the consistency of the Australian and New Zealand approaches to pest and disease risk assessment. The aim is to identify any significant differences, the removal of which would substantially facilitate trade;
  • verify that current quarantine requirements are based on a sound, contemporary risk analysis, and reflect genuine and significant differences in pest-disease status in Australia or New Zealand, and/or differences between the national policy of Australia and New Zealand with respect to an appropriate level of protection;
  • in order to inform the foregoing process, review the list of commodities annexed to the 1988 Protocol, and other items of current concern;
  • review the provisions of the Protocol relating to information exchange and other interaction between the responsible authorities of Australia and New Zealand, and consider whether the existing mechanisms and processes should be
  • revised or augmented.