Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Government was delivering $3.5 million to the new biosecurity hub at the NT Government’s facility in Darwin, including $500,000 dedicated to fighting bluetongue virus.
“The new biosecurity hub will be more than ten times the size of the current facility and will house the latest technology in molecular diagnostics, a technique to diagnose and monitor disease and detect risk,” Minister Joyce said.
“This includes quickly separating local, sometimes beneficial, insects from exotic fruit flies that could devastate our horticulture exports,” he said.
“It also means a more effective early warning system for destructive threats such as new banana diseases. And it means expert rapid diagnosis of exotic diseases that could cripple Australian agriculture.”
Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said the improvements were made possible through the joint investment, which includes $4.535 million from the Northern Territory Government.
“The investment includes modernised molecular diagnostic techniques for biosecurity threat species, improved training for diagnostic specialists and better intelligence sharing with other states and territories,” Minister Vowles said.
“This specialist lab will also help maintain an expert national network of labs that helps keep Australia free from rabies, foot and mouth and other devastating diseases,” he said.
Minister Joyce said “The more effectively we can keep track of, and help control, bluetongue virus, the more it will support our international reputation as a trusted beef exporter as well as our ongoing access to overseas markets.”