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Animal and Plant Disease

What are Animal and Plant Emergencies?

Animal and Plant emergency events can be triggered by an unlimited number of factors which include but are not limited to; the accidental or deliberate importation of diseases or species, urbanisation of rural areas, agroterrorism (extreme activists) and the intensification of agriculture. Climate change can also increase the risk of pests and diseases developing.

Animal and Plant emergencies occur when any of the below are adversely impacted:

  • animal health
  • plant health
  • weed and pest animal control
  • aquatic pest management
  • food safety
  • rural chemical operations

What is Bio Security?

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility between government, industry and the community which manages the risks to Australia posed by animal and plant pests and diseases, food borne illnesses, and misuse of rural chemicals.

South Australia is lucky to be free from many of the world’s worst animal diseases and most damaging plant pests, it is widely accepted that all South Australians can contribute to maintaining a positive biosecurity status. The economy in South Australia is dependent on the trade of plant and animal products which means the biosecurity system is always going to face significant challenges such as increasing passenger numbers and the cargo containers arriving daily at our Airports and Ports.

It is important for the economy of Port Adelaide Enfield that the biosecurity system remains successful as it allows us to protect the integrity of our environment, maintain our favourable pest and disease status and protect the productivity of our primary producers.


The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, developed by the Council of Australian Governments, provides high-level guidance on disaster management to agencies with a role in emergency management. Foremost in the Strategy is the principle of all of society taking responsibility for preventing disasters.

In the context of Animal and Plant disease:

Individuals Travelling to The City of Port Adelaide Enfield
It is everyone's responsibility to keep animals and plants free from pests and diseases. All people, animals and items coming into the country are subject to import requirements which extend to:

Individuals as Residents of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield
To increase community resilience, individuals should actively plan and prepare for protecting their own animals and plants. This can be done by identifying destructive plant pests and diseases and reporting outbreaks. Resilience is also increased by knowing and being involved in local community arrangements, and volunteer roles. Biosecurity awareness is especially important for:

  • Agriculture and farm workers (including fruit pickers and backpackers)
  • Small scale landholders
  • Importers of goods, including items purchased online
  • Pet owners
  • Members of the community who may observe something unusual

Government agencies, local governments and communities
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) manages the risks posed by animal and plant pests and diseases in South Australia. However, all individuals should be aware of their own animal and plant risks and should follow advice given by PIRSA when responding to warnings.

Organisations should include animal and plant risk within their Community Emergency Risk Assessment activities. This includes consideration within emergency management planning and land use planning. Government and industry and research bodies perform research in order to understand pest behaviour so they can plan better control methods. These methods include surveillance, detection and eradication. The success of biosecurity operational activities often depends on support from the community. Because effective community engagement requires capacity to act, a pre-existing relationship, and includes mutual learning these elements will almost certainly take time to achieve.

Vulnerable people
There are many groups of potentially vulnerable people (e.g. older adults or people with disabilities) whose unique needs may not be accounted for in animal disease emergency plans, this is especially so if they are reliant on companion animals to perform everyday tasks.

Vulnerable people require more attention when they are experiencing an Emergency situation compared to everyone else. Planning to help friends and relatives who are considered vulnerable contributes greatly to emergency resilience in communities.

Private Industry and Businesses
Industry groups have a critical role in preventing, preparing for, and responding to outbreaks that affect them. They should understand the risks that they face and ensuring that they are able to continue providing services during or soon after a disaster.

Businesses should plan for the risk of disruption, and ensure arrangements are in place to maintain critical services where required. The links below are designed to help businesses plan for emergency situations:
Business Continuity plans – A quick guide to impact analysis and plan development
Plan and prepare – State Government advice on how to protect your business

For additional information about Animal and Plant Disease:
SA GOV - PIRSA Webpage - Current Alerts - News and Events
SA GOV - Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Animal Pests & Diseases
SA GOV - National Pest and Disease Outbreaks
SA GOV - Emergencies and Safety - Animal and Plant Disease
SA GOV - Information on Marine Pests