Australian Government biosecurity priorities

​​​​​​​​​​Biosecurity risks are changing as import volumes increase and pathways become faster and more complex.

On 29 June 2018, the Australian Government announced that it had committed $313 million of funding to support our world-class biosecurity system and protect our $63 billion agricultural industries, trade, unique environment and way of life. This includes $293 million over the next five years, plus an additional one-off amount of $20 million in 2017-18 to support Tasmanian fruit growers impacted by the fruit fly outbreak.

This investment also addresses recommendations of the 2017 Independent review of the capacity of Australia’s biosecurity system and its underpinning intergovernmental agreement (the review).

The objective of our biosecurity system is to manage biosecurity risk to a very low level, but not to zero, to ensure the safe movement of people, animals, plants, food and cargo into Australia. To do this, we use an integrated approach with complementary measures applied across the biosecurity continuum offshore, at the border and onshore.

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and requires commitment and efforts from everyone including governments, industry, business and the community.

Biosecurity Imports levy

In the 2018-19 Budget, the Australian Government announced the introduction of a new Biosecurity Imports Levy (the Levy) on containerised and non-containerised cargo imported to Australia by sea.

The Levy rate will be set at $10.02 per container or $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo and commence on 1 July 2019.

Much of the material of concern to the national biosecurity system, including of environmental concern, arrives via vessels and containers—either in the contents of the container or on the external surfaces of the container itself. Introducing a levy on containers and non-containerised imports will contribute towards greater efforts to manage these risks.

The Biosecurity Imports Levy will offset costs of biosecurity activities that:

  • manage the types of biosecurity risks created through bringing containers and goods into Australia by sea
  • reduce the need to carry out screening and other activities at the border to manage those risks, thereby allowing for more streamlined, or less stringent, importation processes.

Importers, businesses and consumers benefit from Australia’s risk-based biosecurity system, as fewer goods are inspected compared with the alternative of mandatory interventions.

We are implementing the levy, in consultation with industry.

Read more about the Biosecurity Imports Levy. For frequently asked questions on the Biosecurity Imports Levy.


The government is delivering a stronger, fit-for-purpose biosecurity system, through a range of complementary measures.

Assurance, verification and enforcement

Funding to deliver a robust assurance and verification program to:

  • Improve our ability to analyse risk.
  • Verify biosecurity controls are effective both offshore and at the border.
  • Target intentional non-compliance with an enhanced enforcement capacity.

Value: $34.5 million over 5 years.

Read more about our assurance, verification and enforcement program.

Modern, Seamless Border Clearance

Funding to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of biosecurity operations. This covers trialling and implementing emerging technologies to enhance screening and detection capabilities across the traveller, mail and cargo pathways.

$7.5 million over 5 years.

Read more about our modern, seamless border clearance​ program.

Priority Pest and Disease Planning and Response

Funding to reduce the likelihood of exotic pests or diseases entering Australia. This will mitigate the impacts of any that succeed in breaching our borders.

$65.6 million over 5 years.

Read more about our priority pest and disease planning and response program.

Indigenous Biosecurity Rangers Program

Funding to extend the Indigenous Biosecurity Rangers program. This includes surveillance activities to provide evidence of proof of freedom from key pests and diseases to support market access priorities.

$33.5 million over 5 years.

Biosecurity predictive analytics and intelligence

Funding to create a secure national biosecurity data platform to share biosecurity data and advance our ability to identify high-risk biosecurity pathways.

$36.5 million over 5 years.

Emergency response funding

Funding to support emergency biosecurity responses, including in areas of Commonwealth responsibility such as Norfolk Island. This will also support national cost-shared arrangements under the emergency response deeds.

Value: $35 million over 5 years.

Biosecurity Innovation Program

Funding to develop a Biosecurity Innovation Program to encourage investment in innovative technologies and approaches, including border clearance technologies. This will enable us to work smarter and improve our capacity to detect and manage biosecurity risk.

Value: $25.2 million over 5 years.

Environmental Biosecurity Protection

Funding to establish our Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer. This function supports arrangements and preparedness for key environmental pests and diseases within the national biosecurity system.

Value: $7.6 million over 5 years.

Read more about our environmental biosecurity protection program​.

International Ports – Supplementary funding

Funding to maintain effective biosecurity services, such as screening passengers at international airports and sea ports as the number of incoming passengers increases.

Value: $18.1 million over 5 years.

Read more about our international ports​ – supplementary funding.

Tasmanian Fruit Fly – Emergency Response

Funding to support the eradication of fruit fly to help regain Tasmania’s fruit fly free status. 

Value: $20 million one-off payment.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.