THE AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences has released guidelines that provide practical insights to support the design and implementation of general surveillance programs for biosecurity.

ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville said surveillance is an important part of Australia’s biosecurity system and contributes to lowering biosecurity risks to Australian agriculture, the environment and our way of life.

“General surveillance programs engage people from all walks of life in the monitoring and reporting of pests, weeds and diseases,” Dr Greenville said.

“General surveillance programs can help detect new pests, weeds and diseases and understand how existing ones spread. They can also help access important markets by providing evidence that Australia is free of exotic pests, weeds and diseases. General surveillance complements active surveillance, which involves rigorously designed strategies and allocated staff.

“Starting and maintaining general surveillance programs is no easy feat. These guidelines have been developed to provide high-level information for program coordinators, people who make funding and policy decisions related to general surveillance programs and those responsible for monitoring and evaluating such programs.

“They are based on nine case studies across sectors and provide practical insights into how to make general surveillance programs work.

“The guidelines consider the various aspects of general surveillance programs and how they interact with each other and the broader context. The objective in producing the guidelines is that they will support delivery of more successful and cost-effective general surveillance programs.”