Queensland’s government says any suggestion of rolling biosecurity operations into the Australian Border Force is “absolutely ridiculous”.
The Abbott government would be dumb to roll biosecurity operations into the new national border force, Queensland’s government says.
Some senior cabinet ministers are pushing to have biosecurity taken over by the new Australian Border Froce (ABF) to streamline operations and save money, the ABC has reported.
Biosecurity operations are currently jointly run by federal and state agriculture departments.
Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh says any suggestion of rolling them into the ABF is absolutely ridiculous.
“It’s one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard,” he told AAP.
“Expecting those who protect our borders in relation to immigration to all of a sudden become biosecurity experts is absolutely ridiculous.”
Mr McVeigh said there could be hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to agricultural industries if the dedicated focus on biosecurity wasn’t maintained.
His federal counterpart Barnaby Joyce echoed the sentiment, saying it was crucial the integrity of biosecurity operations wasn’t compromised.
“To give one example: if foot and mouth disease … were to hit our shores, that would cost our industry $50 billion over 10 years,” he told the ABC.
“If that disease came into Australia, it would absolutely devastate our national economy … it would be turmoil like our nation has never seen before.”
The National Farmers Federation CEO Matt Linnegar also said amalgamation would severely weaken quarantine standards.
“Whoever thought of it should take the piece of paper, screw it up and throw it in the bin,” he told the ABC.