The Biosecurity Act 2015

​​​Call 1800 040 629 or email New Biosecurity Legislation to find out more about the Biosecurity Act 2015 and what it means for you.

A Modern Biosecurity System

Australia is now operating under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

The Biosecurity Act replaced the Quarantine Act 1908 in 2016 and is designed to be flexible and responsive to changes in technology and future challenges. The Act:

  • aims to promote a shared responsibility between government and industry​
  • provides a modern regulatory framework
  • reduces duplication and regulatory impacts
  • allows for current and future trading environments.

A full list of the primary legislation, associated acts and supporting delegated legislation is available on the Biosecurity legislation page.

The Biosecurity Act sets up new requirements and regulatory powers that will affect how the department manages the biosecurity risks associated with goods, people and conveyances entering Australia.

The next step

We are now undertaking intensive planning for the delivery of stage 2 of the Biosecurity Legislation Implementation Programme. This next stage includes implementing the delayed, transitional and phased legislative provisions for:

  • domestic ballast water management
  • transitioning previous compliance agreement holders (now transitional approved arrangement holders) to approved arrangements
  • transitioning first points of entry operators (now operating under temporary determinations) to first point of entry determinations
  • phasing in the use of our onshore and emergency powers
  • expanding the use of infringement notices to other biosecurity import pathways.

We aim to make compliance with the Biosecurity Act easy for you and your business. Information explaining what changes to expect under the Act provides a view of how the legislation affects specific industries and client groups including:

View the Introduction to the Biosecurity Act Interactive Learning tool to gain an overview of the Biosecurity Act, including key roles and powers, new terminology, where the Act applies and who will be affected. Or, read through the quick guide to the Biosecurity Act to gain a better understanding of the key themes of change.

Engaging clients and stakeholders from drafting to implementation

The Biosecurity Act was developed through extensive consultation with staff across the department as well as with industry, state and territory governments, environment groups, health professionals, trading partners and the general public.

More than 400 organisations, representing a range of sectors were consulted on the design, development implementation of the legislation and its supporting policies and procedures.

Active stakeholder engagement throughout 2015–16 provided multiple opportunities for clients and stakeholders; state and territory governments, other government agencies and international trading partners to become informed about the changes to the legislative framework, understand their obligations and any changes for their businesses and organisations.

Engagement on how we are implementing the delayed, transitional and phased legislative provisions of the new legislative framework continues through stage 2 of the Biosecurity Legislation Implementation Programme.

Draft legislative instruments and administration tools that are open for consultation can be found on the department website​.

Six key principles underpin the Biosecurity Act:

  1. Legislation for a strong agricultural industry—the Biosecurity Act provides a strong, clear and flexible legislative framework.

  2. Clear legislation to manage biosecurity risks—the Biosecurity Act clearly sets out the powers that can be exercised by officials as well as the requirements of those being regulated.

  3. Increasing efficiency and decreasing regulation—the Biosecurity Act is outcomes focused and based on a key principle of achieving the best biosecurity outcome while minimising regulatory impact.

  4. Improving compliance—the Biosecurity Act enables more effective and efficient targeting of non-compliant behaviour or activities, while reducing the burden on those that are compliant.

  5. Providing protection from public health risks—the Biosecurity Act contains a range of biosecurity measures to manage the public health risk posed by serious communicable diseases.

  6. Meeting Australia’s international obligations—the Biosecurity Act allows for the management of biosecurity risks in a manner that is consistent with Australia’s international obligations.