The Department of Agriculture (the department) has primary responsibility for managing Australia's biosecurity system. Australia needs a robust biosecurity system because pests and diseases have the potential to cause significant harm to people, animals, plants and other aspects of our unique environment and economy.
Australia's borders are not impenetrable. The department—in partnership with governments, agencies, industry and the community—manages biosecurity services to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering and establishing in Australia and harming the Australian natural environment, our food security and economy. Biosecurity management is about more than quarantine, although this is an important element.
Biosecurity also involves:
- working offshore to build the capabilities of our neighbours and the systems of the countries we import from to reduce risks reaching our border
- working in partnership with importers before they bring animal and plant products to Australia to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and can comply
- working with the Australian export supply chain including farmers to ensure that exports are free from pests and diseases
- managing outbreaks of pests and diseases when they occur to prevent or reduce their spread within Australia, thereby minimising the impact to Australia's economy and international trade status
- managing pests and diseases that have established in Australia to minimise their harm and damage, and working to prevent them from spreading
The national approach encompasses the biosecurity continuum (onshore, at the border and offshore), enhances responsiveness under a ‘risk return' approach, and strengthens the partnerships central to a robust biosecurity system. The focus on the continuum:
- better supports consistent service delivery onshore, at the border and offshore
- provides effective biosecurity risk management underpinned by sound science and policy improves the efficiency and responsiveness of operations and
- strengthens client relationships.
The way we manage Australia's biosecurity system is changing to ensure that it can meet current and future challenges.
The Biosecurity Bulletin provides our readers with a greater understanding of our work across the biosecurity continuum: onshore, at the border, and offshore.