On 2 March, 50 members of the Biosecurity Extension Community joined an online meeting to share their experiences relating to plant biosecurity extension.

At each of the meetings relevant speakers are invited based on suggestions from the Community. At this meeting Dr John James, Enablers of Change joined us to shares his tips and tricks on Online extension best practice. John had some practical tips for the Community for delivering online meetings and workshop including, meeting etiquette, IT checks and how to best engage online audiences. Interaction with polling Apps was recommended to keep the content interesting.

Dr. Aditi Mankad, a senior research scientist at CSIRO, is an expert in risk and vulnerability in biosecurity. Aditi described differences in adoption rates of biosecurity practices during the Panama Disease incursion in banana. She also describes some of the major barriers and incentives to achieving good on-farm biosecurity practice from her research on the Area Wide Management program for fruit fly – Biosecurity from a behavioural science lens. The biggest barrier was the cost and the ability to prioritise biosecurity measures amongst other priorities. One of the biggest incentives she described was the benefits associated with market access, a key motivator for good on-farm biosecurity practices.

Maddy Quirk, Project Officer, AUSVEG  presented the R&D4P project on Boosting Diagnostics – Giving Australian plant diagnostics a booster shot. This is a large ($14 million) cross-sectoral project that is led by GRDC with the aim of creating maximum value to industry through enhanced diagnostics for biosecurity response efforts. The focus areas for this project are: (i) diagnostic capacity building,  (ii) enhanced diagnostic tools and (iii) In-field detection and diagnostic blitzes. Nematode and bacterial diagnostics were included as case studies with application across plant industry sectors. Involvement of the Biosecurity Extension Community in this project may occur throughout the in-field detection and sampling blitz phase.

The next meeting will be held in early July. All extension practitioners with an interested in biosecurity are welcome.

For more information contact [email protected]