The government committed $5 million over four years for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to review existing arrangements and implement improvements for a strengthened national approach to marine pest biosecurity. This commitment was part of the government’s policy for a more competitive and sustainable fisheries sector.
The department has completed its review and released a report of national marine pest biosecurity in late 2015. The report PDF [1.9 MB] Word [2.9 MB] sets a new direction for marine pest biosecurity arrangements in Australia.
The report has a number of recommendations that provides a new focus on prevention activities, better relationships between researchers, marine-based industries, government and the community. It also recommends the development of stronger response arrangements for dealing with incursions.
The recommendations will now be implemented over the next three years (2015–18). This work will involve working closely with stakeholders to strengthen national marine pest biosecurity arrangements to reduce the risk of marine pests from establishing in Australian waters.
The review process
The department consulted extensively with stakeholders during the review. The existing national marine pest biosecurity arrangements were examined and stakeholder views and suggestions for improvement were considered.
The consultation process included:
- an issues paper released in October 2014 inviting comment on any aspect of national marine pest biosecurity
- a discussion paper released in April 2015 seeking further input on some key issues
- stakeholder workshops held in each state and territory
- meetings and teleconferences with individual stakeholders to discuss concerns and issues.
In total, the department received 38 written submissions and held meetings, teleconferences and workshops with over 90 stakeholder organisations involved in, or affected by, marine pest biosecurity arrangements.
To assist the review, the department commissioned two studies by ABARES:
Stakeholder views and the findings from the ABARES studies were all considered in preparing the report.