Environmental biosecurity protection

​​​​We are improving our ability to protect Australia’s environmental biosecurity.

This includes creating a new role of a Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer within the department.

Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer

The Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is similar to the Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Plant Protection Officer.

They will provide national policy leadership on the environmental impact of foreign pests and diseases.

The officer will:

  • ensure environmental biosecurity issues remain central to discussions
  • work with government, industry, communities and environmental groups to protect Australia from pests and diseases that affect the environment
  • take a strategic and transparent approach to national environmental biosecurity preparedness and investment
  • work closely with the Department of the Environment and Energy and the Threatened Species Commissioner.

What we’re up against

Pests and diseases pose a significant risk to our environment, communities and way of life. They also threaten our economy, including our position as an iconic tourist destination.

The costs are significant. For example, red imported fire ants have the capacity to cause havoc in our environment and would cost an estimated $1.5 billion per year if they became established.

Projects

The officer will administer an $825,000 a year project fund.

This fund will be used to:

  • build environmental biosecurity capability and capacity across the community
  • contribute to efforts to detect and eradicate environmental pests and diseases.

The officer will also work with the Environment and Invasives Committee to develop a national exotic environmental priority pest and disease list.

This list was recommended by the independent report Priorities for Australia’s Biosecurity System.

Fighting for the environment

This investment will ensure Australia’s environmental and community biosecurity risks are better identified and prioritised. It will also improve environmental biosecurity preparedness, surveillance and response capacity.

Cost

$7.6 million over five years.
$1.6 million per year ongoing.