Lawn Solutions Australia (LSA), the country’s leading national group of accredited turf growers, has joined Plant Health Australia (PHA) as an associate member from October 1, 2016. PHA is the not-for-profit coordinator of the industry-government plant biosecurity partnership in Australia. PHA Executive Director and CEO Greg Fraser, welcomed the group, saying that the turf industry had a lot to gain from good biosecurity. “Lawn Solutions Australia rely on their reputation as a supplier of weed- and pest-free turf,” he said. “Becoming an associate member of PHA will help the industry secure its reputation in this regard and promote best-practice in minimising biosecurity incursions both on-farm and on-site.”
Mr Fraser describes PHA’s purpose as being for government and industry to have a strong biosecurity partnership that minimises pest impacts on Australia, improves market access and contributes to industry and community sustainability. “It’s groups like Lawn Solutions Australia coming on board as members that will enhance this relationship,” he says. Lawn Solutions Australia Business Manager Simon Adermann echoed Mr Fraser’s remarks, saying that in joining PHA the turf group was keen to embrace measures that helped their growers keep abreast of latest legislation and remain pest- and disease-free. “Updated biosecurity measures have now been brought into our AusGAP turf accreditation program and it’s terrific to partner with an organisation like PHA so we’re always up-to-date” stated Adermann. “Entry and exit of people and machinery on our member’s turf farms and jobsites are just some things we want to keep our eye on,” he explains. “These are issues that could potentially affect biosecurity for turf growers and their customers and the wider community.” Such areas are becoming increasingly more important for turf growers according to Adermann; particularly when dealing with interstate transfer of turf or traceability when working with large-scale corporate developments that may have a number of different suppliers. “Red Imported Fire Ant, Spiralling Whitefly, Electric Ants and Green Snails are just some of the pests that have seen recent biosecurity-restrictions put in place regarding turf production and distribution,” he says, “and unchecked these kinds of things could do a lot of damage on-farm and into the wider-community.”
“Membership with PHA will give us a number of tools to properly address aspects of the turf industry which can often be overlooked, like such biosecurity issues as well as broader environmental considerations. It’s our goal to be more than the best turf growers; we want professional operations that provide quality and service that exceeds industry and community expectations,” he went on to say. With Lawn Solutions joining PHA the organisation now has 48 members in total—all Australian governments, 38 industries plus 10 associate members. The combination of plant industries, government, and other biosecurity stakeholders ensures that PHA is in a strong position to provide independent advice and facilitate decision making into the future in the best interests of the national plant biosecurity system.