Victoria’s livestock property identification system is being expanded to horticulture to provide a new level of protection against pests and diseases for grape growers in Sunraysia and across the state.
During a visit to Mildura today Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said from the beginning of July, grape growers in Victoria’s northwest would be required to apply for a property identification code (PIC) to help guard against pest and disease outbreaks.
Mr Walsh said the PIC system was being expanded to horticulture as part of a $19.5 million allocation for biosecurity in this year’s State Budget, starting with wine, table and dried grape growers.
“The purpose of the PIC system is partly to assist tracing pests and diseases that may be detected after produce leaves a farm, as well as helping to efficiently locate properties that may be affected by an outbreak that occurs nearby,” Mr Walsh said.
“This kind of traceability system will help to provide domestic and international confidence in our ability to swiftly respond to and control pest and disease outbreaks that could threaten our access to key export markets.
“All livestock producers are required to have a PIC and the system is now being extended to horticulture, with viticulture chosen as the first industry for which PICs will be mandatory.”
Mr Walsh said the horticulture industry had pushed for a property identification system to help minimise the disruptions to plant production and market access caused by pest and disease outbreaks.
“The Coalition is pleased to support the industry by rolling out a PIC scheme, because the cost of responding to pest and disease incursions can be high and a timely response is critical to reduce the impact of the pests and diseases,” Mr Walsh said.
“In the event of an outbreak, the PIC system will enable the Department of Primary Industries to rapidly access property location data and contact owners to limit spread of the outbreak.”
PICs are supported by a new Plant Biosecurity Act which comes into effect on July 1.
“This is significant for all of Victoria, but particularly in the north west which accounts for most of Victoria’s grape production,” Mr Walsh said.