A WA-first initiative to make biosecurity training a more accessible, efficient and effective process, Western Power has recently rolled out online training for its operational staff and external contractors to assist in protecting the State’s unique flora and fauna.
Operating in a vast network known as the South West Interconnected System, Western Power operates one of the world's largest stand-alone grids and ensuring its footprint is as minimal as possible is one of the organisation’s key environmental priorities.
Green Card training was originally developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to train staff working in high-risk dieback management areas and is now a standard regulatory hygiene management approval requirement.
Gair Landsborough, Executive Manager Asset Management said all Western Power employees and contractors who undertake work on the network which has a biosecurity risk to the environmental and agricultural values of the lands they enter are required to get a Green Card, which remains valid for three years.
“Western Power staff and contractors regularly access national parks, reserves and agricultural properties as part of their operational duties and they must obtain Green Card certification,” he said.
“In an industry-first outside of the regulator, we’ve developed an in-house online training program in collaboration with the DBCA and WA’s Dieback Working Group (DWG), which will be rolled out to all relevant staff and contractors over the coming months.”
The training provides ways to minimise the risk of spreading dieback, weeds and other diseases which have the potential to enter Australia, ensuring staff have the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and practically manage on-ground biosecurity risks.
“We want the community to have confidence that our teams are well-equipped to protect the unique biodiverse ecosystems we are lucky to enjoy in Western Australia,” he said.
“Landowners can be assured that when Western Power is required to access their property, the environmental footprint is as minimal as possible.
“This new online training is a vital step in ensuring that our unique flora and fauna remain healthy and robust for generations to come.”
Cameron Crowe, DWG Chairman applauded Western Power’s commitment to support and develop best-practice biosecurity training and practices.
“This partnership is testimony to Western Power’s commitment to biosecurity best practice on public and private land and is welcomed at a time of compounding pressures on natural areas from climate change, other invasive species such as Myrtle rust, and the transition to renewable energy that requires large scale infrastructure development.”
Mia Townsend, DBCA, Ecosystems Health Branch, Plant Diseases Program Coordinator said “We’re proud to have participated and provided content for this fantastic project. The partnership of Government agencies and community groups through the Phytophthora Dieback Training Consortium has been an excellent example of how great things can happen using a collaborative approach.”