Biosecurity

​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, January 2018

These fact sheets provide current information about how the Australian Government is supporting the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors, and are available for download.

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Biosecurity


Biosecurity is critical to protect Australia’s $60 billion-a-year agriculture industry, our environment and community from severe pests and diseases.

Australia’s biosecurity system aims to anticipate, prevent, prepare, detect, respond to and recover from biosecurity risks, through operations at the border, onshore and offshore. It plays a crucial role in Australia’s engagement in international trade. The system uses a risk-based approach backed by research, science and intelligence to target biosecurity issues effectively.

Without Australia’s current biosecurity system, annual broadacre farm profits would be an estimated $12,000 to $17,500 lower per farm due to a higher risk of biosecurity threats.

Building a stronger biosecurity system

The Australian Government is building a stronger, more resilient and financially sustainable biosecurity system by:

  • implementing the Biosecurity Act 2015—modern, flexible legislation that ensures Australia responds effectively to future biosecurity challenges and advances in transport and technology
  • delivering the Australian Government’s $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper including:
    • $200 million for improving biosecurity surveillance and analysis to better target critical biosecurity risks and support access to premium markets
    • $25.8 million over 4 years to help manage the effects of pest weeds and animals in drought-affected areas
    • $50 million for improving management of weed and pest animals across Australia
  • providing $14.4 million for the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, which continues to provide worldclass research and expertise to the establishment of national biosecurity protocols and procedures
  • providing $20 million for the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, which funds collaborative research, development and extension activity in relation to invasive pest animals and weeds.
  • enforcing biosecu​rity controls at Australia’s borders—in 2016–17, the Australian Government
    • cleared 20.5 million international travellers
    • inspected 18,000 international vessels, 45,000 sea containers and 31,226 lines of imported food at Australian entry points
    • checked 158 million mail items
    • seized more than 290,000 items of biosecurity concern from passengers at Australian international airports
    • cleared over 27,000 travellers from PNG coastal villages to Torres Strait Islands
    • performed more than 25,000 diagnostic tests on pests, diseases and plant material
  • improving pre-arrival reporting for the shipping industry through the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System
  • strengthening import and export arrangements with industry through Arrangement Reform initiatives
  • improving collection and collation of surveillance data to better meet increasing demands from trading partners for robust scientific evidence of Australia’s freedom from pest and disease
  • enhancing biosecurity surveillance across northern Australia using modern diagnostics and engaging with communities
  • working collaboratively with Australia’s near neighbours to improve surveillance and build biosecurity capacity in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and investing in improved surveillance in the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • working collaboratively with state and territory governments and industries to prepare for the threat of emergency animal and plant pests and diseases and coordinating national responses
  • funding pest and disease eradication programs, such as for red imported fire ants and exotic fruit fly in Torres Strait
  • developing an industry–government agreement with aquaculture and fisheries industries that formalises cost-sharing and shared responsibility for responses to emergency aquatic animal diseases
  • chairing the National Biosecurity Committee, which has endorsed new national biosecurity research, development and extension priorities, giving a nationally consistent focus to biosecurity research
  • working collaboratively with state and territory governments and producers to form producer-led livestock health monitoring networks to improve surveillance for animal disease
  • launching a new Plant Innovation Centre at the Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility in Mickleham, Victoria, to improve capacity to address plant biosecurity risks
  • collaborating with Murdoch University to evaluate next generation sequencing for identification of plant viruses—technology that may radically change some of the plant pathogen testing conducted at the PEQ
  • managing the biosecurity import conditions database, BICON, which receives more than 1.8 million unique web hits per month and has more than 15,000 registered importers. BICON will lead to an annual saving of more than $26 million in compliance costs and regulatory burden
  • launching a One Health antimicrobial resistance (AMR) website with the Australian Government Department of Health to collect and share information about AMR-related initiatives across Australia.

Key Facts

  • Biosecurity protects farmers and producers—and their profits—and supports Australia’s ability to produce and export clean, safe and sustainable agricultural goods.
  • The Australian Government is building our biosecurity system by:
    • implementing the Biosecurity Act 2015
    • delivering the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper
    • funding and partnering with, the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis
    • enforcing biosecurity controls at our borders

Further information

General inquiry 1800 900 090
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601​​​​​