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Anne Ruston in Honiara and at ABARE

South Australian Senator Anne Ruston is not one of the better known front benchers however she has a lot of support in regional and rural electorates because of the work she puts in on agriculture and water.

Last week she turned her attention to fish at the Sustainable Fisheries Management Conference in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands.

The conference was put on by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and comprised a workshop that focused on the management of the FFA’s tuna resource which is the biggest in the world, worth $4.2 billion to the Pacific Island states.

The FFA states include Australia, New Zealand, the Solomons, Kirabati, Vanuatu, Fiji, Nauru, PNG, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Tonga, Samoa, Tokelau and Tuvalu.

A big issue in the workshop will be food processing and the opportunity to add greater value within the region.

Before she went to Honiara the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water delivered a speech at the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) conference in Canberra on Wednesday.

During the Q and A session on biosecurity, Senator Ruston said that she didn’t think that the Australian government was doing enough to protect Australian farmers from biosecurity threats.

She said that the mobility of goods and people represented an extraordinary challenge and she indicated that the public awareness of the threat is not as strong as it should be.

“I think the bigger challenge we face is trying to make sure that every single one of you and every single person in Australia understands the importance of biosecurity.

Australia needs a much better education campaign to make people aware of the potential damage of being silly,” she said.

“Most often people do things because they just don’t know any different.”

At the same conference on Monday Barnaby Joyce also pointed to the threat arising from biosecurity breaches.

“Foot-and-mouth disease would be a $50 billion hit to our economy,” he said.

“There would be further multi-billion dollar hits to our economy if there were outbreaks of screw fly, Panama race4, TB, or brucellosis.”

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Image Source – Naracoorte Herald