SMALLER landholders and hobby farmers are being encouraged to take part in finalising a new biosecurity strategy to safeguard NSW from plant and animal pests and diseases.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said that while larger scale farmers are familiar with the biosecurity threats to the 'clean, green' reputation enjoyed by NSW, smaller landholders are often overlooked.
"Governments need to manage biosecurity with the support of the entire community," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"Everybody who has rural lands - primary producers, hobby farmers, boutique livestock breeders and small scale flower and vegetable growers - has a role to play in managing biosecurity risks.
"We can't always eliminate the risk of pests, weeds and diseases entering NSW, but we can be proactive and work together to reduce the risks."
There are over 29,000 'peri urban' landholders in NSW, a statistic which captures properties between four and 10 hectares, and many of these are in the Sydney Basin, along the coastline and around major regional centres.
The draft Biosecurity Strategy, released today for consultation, builds on existing measures to keep NSW pest and disease-free.
The Strategy identifies a number of priority areas including biosecurity science and research; surveillance and tracing systems; and improving the State's capacity to respond to plant and animal health emergencies.
"While we already have one of the toughest biosecurity platforms in the world, it's critical we continually look at ways to strengthen these measures so we maintain our unique market advantage and keep the freedom to operate small landholdings according to personal preference," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"Biosecurity can affect the entire economy and it's important that everyone has an opportunity to have a say as we finalise this new Strategy.
"Whether you're a large landholder or keen gardener in suburban Sydney, everyone has a role in managing biosecurity threats."
The NSW Department of Primary Industries will be coordinating community meetings across the State in order to gather feedback on the draft strategy from the community.
The draft biosecurity strategy can be downloaded from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity.
The closing date for submissions is Friday 16 November 2012.