The Consultative Group on Biosecurity Cooperation (CGBC) was established by Australian and New Zealand ministers in 1999 under the terms of the Australia –New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.
The CGBC provides the impetus and direction for harmonising animal and plant health measures affecting trade between the two countries.
Functions of the CGBC were set out in Article 7 of the ‘Protocol on Harmonisation of Quarantine Administrative Procedures to the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations—Trade Agreement’ (1988) and include:
- oversee the work of technical working groups on animal and plant biosecurity on specific tasks within their field of expertise
- appoint additional working groups, or designate project officers, to carry out relevant tasks
- review reports and provide advice on biosecurity matters to Australian and New Zealand ministers.
Implementing this work strengthens the dialogue between the two countries on trans-Tasman biosecurity issues.
Membership of the CGBC comprises representatives from the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.
Three working groups operate under the CGBC:
- Animal Technical Working Group
- Plant Technical Working Group
- Operational Technical Working Group.
Each group discusses technical and policy issues and reports back to the CGBC.
The CGBC meets annually with hosting duties alternating between Australia and New Zealand. The CGBC is chaired by the head of the relevant hosting agency or its representative.