New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, 1243 Bruxner Highway, Wollongbar, New South Wales, 2477, Australia; Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (An alliance between Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries), Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, 2678, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Biosecurity policy in NSW is based on the concept of 'shared responsibility' that emphasises small government and devolution of responsibility to stakeholders. This paper draws on a case study of the cattle tick program to illustrate the challenges for governments implementing a 'shared responsibility' biosecurity strategy in the multifunctional rural landscapes that are now typical of the more closely settled regions of south-eastern Australia. Agriculture may remain the dominant land use in these regions but other values underpin landownership and management for an increasing proportion of landholders who are not farmers by occupation, are disconnected from traditional producer networks, and often lack the knowledge and skills to effectively manage biosecurity threats. We describe the challenges posed by multifunctionality including a high property turnover rate, rapidly increasing rural land values, in-migration of new landholders and multiple landholder types holding different values and beliefs that influence their cattle tick management practices. We suggest ways biosecurity programs within a 'shared responsibility' framework can more effectively engage producers. These include negotiating with industry or a representative body the level of responsibility and management decisions being delegated, and to building the social and human capital of landholders taking into account the specific information and training needs of new and non-farmer landholders in addition to cattle tick management.