The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) has commenced a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis) for fresh breadfruit in response to requests for market access for fresh breadfruit from Fiji and Samoa. The review has been expanded to cover Tonga, which is also interested in exporting fresh breadfruit to Australia.
Further information about this review can be found in the Biosecurity Advice 2017-15 and Announcement Information Paper.
There are three principle steps in the review process:
- Departmental experts conduct a preliminary review of scientific knowledge of pest and diseases of concern and prepare an announcement information paper for stakeholders.
- The department prepares a draft report that is released for public comment. The draft report outlines the identified risks and proposed risk management measures to address any risks identified and achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.
- The department considers stakeholder comments and publishes a final report.
Timing for this process
The department aims to release the draft report by late 2017 and the final report in early 2018.
The department will consult with industry representatives and relevant State and Territory agriculture authorities throughout the review process to ensure the department has all available scientific information relevant to this review.
Stakeholders who are interested in the review will be able to make submissions on the draft report for consideration by the department. New scientific information will be considered at any time.
If you wish to know more about this review or the risk analysis review process please email Plant or phone +61 2 6272 5094.
Type of process
The review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis) is a process used by the department to consider an import proposal when potential pests of concern identified in a preliminary assessment are the same as, or similar to, pests for which risk management measures are already established.
These reviews are comprehensive reviews of existing import requirements and new science.
If the risks posed by an import proposal exceed Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP), the review will specify that the import will not proceed, unless appropriate risk management measures have been identified that will reduce those risks to an acceptable level.
The review considers the risks of pests and diseases associated with the proposed import along with any risk management measures that could address these risks.
All World Trade Organisation (WTO) members are signatories to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), under which they have both rights and obligations. Each WTO member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory. This is called the appropriate level of protection (ALOP).
Appropriate level of protection (ALOP)
Australia’s ALOP is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as providing a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risk to a very low level, but not to zero.
This definition has been reached with the agreement of all state and territory governments and recognises that a zero risk stance is impractical because this would mean Australia would have no tourists, international travel or imports.
The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.
The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity concern entering, establishing and spreading in Australia.
Australia’s biosecurity system protects our unique environment and agricultural sector, and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.
A risk analysis is an examination of the potential biosecurity risks associated with an import of animals, plants or other goods into Australia. It plays an important role in protecting Australia’s biosecurity.
If the assessed level of biosecurity risk exceeds Australia’s ALOP, the department will consider whether there are any risk management measures that would reduce the biosecurity risk to achieve the ALOP. If there are no risk management measures that reduce the risk to that level, trade will not be allowed.
New scientific information
Scientific information can be provided to the department at any time, including after a review has been completed. The department will consider the information provided and will review the import policy, if required.
Protection from exotic pests in Australia
A comprehensive risk assessment of pests and diseases will be undertaken and risk management options will be recommended to address any risks of exotic pests and diseases. Any recommended measures will reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.
Zero risk is impossible; it would mean no tourists, international travel or imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are appropriately managed and achieve Australia’s ALOP.
Australia exports almost two thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agriculture and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain a good plant and animal health status.
Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.
Meeting Australia’s food standards
Imported food for human consumption must satisfy Australia’s food standards. Australian law requires that all food, including imported fresh fruit, meets the standards set out in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the requirements of the Imported Food Control Act 1992. Each state and territory also has its own food laws that must be met.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for developing and maintaining the Code, including Standard 1.4.2, maximum residue limits. The standards apply to all food in Australia, irrespective of whether it is grown domestically or imported.
Timing of imports
Following assessment of the pest risks identified, if risk management measures achieve Australia’s ALOP, imports may be permitted. However, it will be a commercial decision by an Australian importer to apply for an import permit, if required, in order for imports to commence.