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12 'megashocks' could devastate Australian agriculture

UNFORSEEN biosecurity hazards could cost Australia billions.

A CSIRO report released today found 12 "megashocks", like new varieties of foot and mouth disease or wheat rust, could devastate Australian agriculture, environment and the economy if biosecurity was taken for granted.

CSIRO biosecurity flagship science director Dr Gary Fitt said efforts should be concentrated on pre-empting rather than responding to threats.

"If there was a significant decline in European honey bee populations across Australia in the future, for example, this would impact our economy with losses of around $4-6 billion," he said.

Similarly he said a new wheat rust strain, currently isolated to Africa and the Middle East, had the potential to devastate Australian agriculture.

- APN NEWSDESK


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