- Charles Sturt hosts 10 participants from Timor-Leste as part of biosecurity training program
- The $770,000 program aims to boost biosecurity capabilities in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
- The training was provided through the Biosecurity Training Centre at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga
Charles Sturt University this week hosted the first representatives of a $770,000 training program aimed at building biosecurity capacity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Charles Sturt partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to develop the international training program aimed at enhancing biosecurity capabilities in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to protect farmers from exotic diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD).
The International Biosecurity Capacity Building Initiative is offered through the Biosecurity Training Centre (BTC) at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga.
The University has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and animal and plant quarantine colleagues in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to determine gaps in their capacity to detect and mitigate the risk of exotic diseases entering through regulated pathways.
Ten delegates from Timor-Leste commenced nine days of training, excluding ANZAC Day, on Monday 17 April at the BTC in Wagga Wagga. Delegates from Indonesia will complete training in May.
The $770,000 funding will deliver country-specific ‘train the trainer’ programs and is part of the Australian Government’s $14 million commitment to improving biosecurity with its closest neighbours.
The Indonesian delegates will receive training to build biosecurity capacity that will contribute to their ongoing management of FMD and LSD outbreaks. Delegates from Timor-Leste, which is currently free from FMD and LSD, will be supported in their prevention and preparation response.
Academic Director of the Biosecurity Training Centre, with the Charles Sturt Faculty of Science and Health, Professor David Mackay, said an ever-changing global landscape, including economic and population growth across the Indo-Pacific, influences how biosecurity systems need to function to be effective.
Professor Mackay is delivering the training to the delegates and said he hopes the program will allow Australia’s neighbours to lift national and regional preparedness, response, and resilience to changing biosecurity risks.
“At this time, Indonesia and Timor-Leste are facing a number of significant risks in relation to foot-and-mouth disease and lumpy skin disease,” he said.
“Building biosecurity capability through the sharing of international best practice in border management, and animal and plant pests and diseases, will assist these near neighbours in their efforts to prevent and respond to a range of existing and new biosecurity risks.”
Professor Mackay said the capabilities learned during this training will allow participants to contribute to new ways of thinking about biosecurity risk management. He said the Biosecurity Training Centre is fortunate to partner with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for this program.
“The Biosecurity Training Centre is fortunate to have a strategic partner that is actively seeking to support near neighbours lift their national and regional preparedness, response and resilience to global biosecurity risks,” he said.
“The work of the BTC in developing and delivering the first of these international training programs has been a truly joint effort with the department and the participating countries.”
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Mr Murray Watt said the program was part of a broader agenda to invest in regional biosecurity, which includes closer collaboration and cooperation with its nearest neighbours.
“Australia is free from FMD and LSD and we are determined to keep it that way,” he said.
“Helping our friends and neighbours detect and manage their risk to these exotic diseases, helps us protect our vital agricultural sector.
“Australia has a long history of biosecurity collaboration with Indonesia and Timor-Leste, and we have ramped up our work together since May 2022 following the detection of FMD in Indonesia.
“This program will provide vital support to Indonesia’s efforts to control the FMD and LSD outbreaks there while assisting Timor-Leste’s to prevent and prepare for an incursion.”
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