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Norfolk Island Pest and Disease Survey 2021 to 2023—update on Marine, Bee and Plant components

To improve the long-term biosecurity and sustainability of Norfolk Island, the Australian Government is funding the Norfolk Island Pest and Disease Survey.

Following tender processes targeted at organisations with the required expertise, the Australian Government recently awarded contracts for three of the four survey components. These components will increase our understanding of the health status of Norfolk Island’s marine environment, bees and plants. The surveys will take place on Norfolk Island over the next 12 to 18 months.

Norfolk Marine Park is not only rich in history but supports a diverse temperate and tropical marine ecosystem. The marine pest and disease survey will generate important baseline data about the marine park, supporting management of the marine environment and biosecurity. Biofouling Solutions Pty Ltd has been commissioned to conduct the marine pest survey. Parks Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications are jointly funding this survey.

Having access to up-to-date information on bee pests and diseases is critical to maintaining the Island’s bee biosecurity supporting reliable bee pollination, local honey production and tourism. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has been commissioned to conduct the bee pest and disease survey. Dr John Roberts, who has worked on the 2012-2014 Norfolk Island Quarantine survey, will be conducting the survey in close collaboration with local beekeepers.

Norfolk Island is home to more than 40 endemic plant species, including the iconic Norfolk Island Pine. Plant health data is important to maintain the Island’s biosecurity, supporting tourism, crop health, and conservation of endemic species. Agriculture Victoria Research has been engaged to conduct the plant pest and disease survey.

The surveys will be developed and conducted in consultation with the Norfolk Island community. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is working with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, Parks Australia, and the three suppliers on these surveys.

Further information on the community engagement process will be released shortly. The engagement and support of the Norfolk Island community is fundamental to the success of the surveys and ongoing pest and disease monitoring.

The Australian Government will go out to tender for the fourth component of the survey in the second half of 2021. This component will focus on terrestrial animals.

Any enquiries about the pest and disease survey can be made to: office.administrator@infrastructure.gov.au.

Eric Hutchinson
Administrator of Norfolk Island
7 July 2021