Plant Health Australia visit ANU ag students

On Tuesday 5 July, CEAT had the pleasure of hosting Dr Maggie Mwathi and Kathryn Pagler from Plant Health Australia (PHA) to present a biosecurity workshop to ANU agriculture students at the Fenner School of Environment & Society.

This was part of our partnership with PHA to create industry experiences for students and enhance awareness of Australian biosecurity. PHA is the national co-ordinator of the government-industry partnerships for plant biosecurity in Australia, and a custodian of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed, an agreement that covers the management and funding of responses to emergency plant pest incidents.

The engaging and informative workshop gave students a greater understanding of Australian biosecurity threats and processes. We discussed the current ecosystem, and work that PHA is doing to develop and implement plans and protocols for national biosecurity through research and consultation with experts.

It was interesting to learn about some of the diagnostic protocols and surveillance processes that protect Australian agricultural industries including plant identification, recording pest presence and absence, and how every person can assist to better protect their community and the country from invasive plant pests.

Discussions on national priority pests were of particular interest, particularly the Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor) emergency currently affecting bees in NSW. We also discussed the risk that the Khapra Beetle (Trogoderma granarium) poses to the Australian economy and the grains industry, which has resulted in its classification as a plant priority pest.

The workshop was a great opportunity for students to learn more about job opportunities and the contributions they can make with Australian biosecurity. CEAT will be partnering with PHA to offer internship opportunities for students to get hands-on experiences working on these important issues.

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