9 October 2023
In response to Japanese encephalitis virus being detected on the Australian mainland in 2022, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has conducted a policy review of the risk of Japanese encephalitis in horses imported from approved countries. All comments on the draft report for this policy review have been considered in the finalisation process. The final report is now available on our website.
As Japanese encephalitis virus is now being managed as endemic in Australia and because horses do not represent a risk of onward transmission, the final report recommends removing these conditions for horses from approved countries. The Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON) will be updated to reflect the change as new health certificates are agreed with trading partners as part of planned updates to begin later in 2023. There has been no change in the level of disease risk posed by horses being exported to Australia, so all existing import permits remain valid. However, importers may contact the department to request a permit variation if desired prior to the BICON changes.
This approach ensures the continuity of trade. It also manages the biosecurity risks in accordance with Australia’s appropriate level of protection and meets international trade obligations.
To receive information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses subscribe to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Animal on the department’s website. Subscribers will receive biosecurity advice notices and other notifications about animal biosecurity policy.
Dr Peter Finnin