Biosecurity Business Grants Program


Northern Australia’s vast, sparsely populated 10,000 kilometre coastline is the frontline for many high-risk animal and plant pests and diseases, particularly Torres Strait, whose northern islands are only a few kilometres from Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Biosecurity risks can reach Australia through the movement of people and goods by sea and air, through traditional trade between PNG and Torres Strait, and by natural pathways such as wind, tide and animal migration. Some serious pests and diseases are being managed in Torres Strait that have not reached the Australian mainland.

Biosecurity Business Grants will be available from 2020-21 to 2022-23 to existing or new Indigenous businesses, organisations or other organisations working with Indigenous people to develop business, feasibility or marketing plans and / or to fund innovative business opportunities that capitalise on achieving biosecurity outcomes for northern Australia.

Biosecurity activities are controls or actions that minimise the risk of exotic pests, weeds and diseases entering Australia to protect our $60 billion agriculture export industries, our unique environment, cultural and heritage values, our tourism industries and our way of life including biosecurity:

  • surveillance / monitoring
  • preparedness
  • risk management and
  • capability building.

Examples of potential grant proposals which may be funded under this program include, but are not limited to:

  • developing a biosecurity triage system to assist Indigenous rangers, local governments and natural resource management groups to quickly ascertain the correct contact and jurisdictional responsibility for pest, disease and weed issues
  • purchase of equipment, materials and training for the start-up of a new Indigenous ranger group/s to help manage biosecurity risks
  • establishing a biosecurity treatment or de-contamination service providing insecticidal, fumigation or de-contamination / wash down services
  • development of biosecurity risk mitigation/management plans to protect Indigenous values in a local area
  • collaborative activities to manage biosecurity risks including mitigation activities and capability building initiatives on Land and Sea Country
  • collaborative activities to highlight to community including farmers, tourists and businesses the impacts of biosecurity incursions on Land and Sea Country
  • research that supports government and Indigenous ranger partnerships to better conduct biosecurity activities, for example, development of non-destructive sampling techniques.

The Biosecurity Business Grants program

The Biosecurity Business Grants program will run over 3 years from 2020-21 to 2022-23 and will be delivered through the Indigenous Rangers Biosecurity Program. 

The purpose of the grant program is to provide funding to support Indigenous business opportunities relating to biosecurity activities in northern Australia including Torres Strait in Queensland (QLD).

More information about the program can be found on the Community Grants Hub website. The Australian Government Community Grants Hub administers this program on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Program objective

The objective of the program is to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in northern Australia to view biosecurity as a business opportunity through the development of innovative business ideas.

Intended program outcomes

The intended outcomes of the program are to:

  • increase biosecurity capability including awareness, surveillance and response in northern Australia
  • increase economic opportunities for Indigenous communities.

Applications for Round 1

Applications for Round 1 closed on 13 April 2021.

17 applications were received from Indigenous businesses, ranger groups, local governments and not-for-profit organisations.

Examples of grant activities applied for include:

  • improving biosecurity practices in Indigenous-led forestry in northern Australia (Tiwi Islands and East Arnhem, Northern Territory (NT))
  • expanding the capacity of newly formed ranger groups to undertake biosecurity work on country (north Queensland and Cape York)
  • improving remote Indigenous community animal health surveillance capacity through grass-roots collaboration (20 Indigenous communities across northern Australia)
  • feasibility study for an Indigenous business to operate a biosecurity hub on Badu Island, QLD
  • assessing vector-borne disease amongst animal populations in Aboriginal communities
  • development of a targeted Waste and Material Biosecurity Management Plan (Torres Strait, QLD)
  • development of biosecurity management plans (Arnhem Land, NT)
  • delivering weed identification workshops to rangers (Gascoyne and mid-west Western Australia)

An assessment panel including representatives from the National Indigenous Australians Agency and Indigenous Business Australia met in June 2021 to assess applications. Five projects were approved for funding from August 2021 totalling over $2.4 million over two years (2021-22 and 2022-23).

Round 2 is anticipated to open in the second half of 2022.

Project title Summary Lead recipient Funding
(GST inclusive)
Improving remote Indigenous community animal health surveillance capacity through grass-roots collaboration Improving remote Indigenous community animal health surveillance capacity through grass-roots collaboration will see AMRRIC partner with remote Indigenous community stakeholders in Northern Australia to collect and report community animal health and biosecurity data across a minimum of 20 communities annually over 3 years. Fee-for service arrangements with collaborating Indigenous organisations will aid in supporting the employment of an estimated 42 local community members. Contextually appropriate animal-focused biosecurity training, delivered by AMRRIC, will enable syndromic surveillance data capture via the custom designed AMRRIC App. With negotiated agreements in place, this data will be subsequently shared with biosecurity authorities. This project will enable considerable improvements to current animal biosecurity surveillance activities while concurrently building local biosecurity capacity, improving community animal health and supporting Indigenous economic opportunities. Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous
Communities (AMRRIC)
In consortium with:

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council

Thamarrurr Development Corporation Limited Wildlife Health Australia
Wuthathi Biosecurity Initiative Wuthathi Aboriginal Corp RNTBC (WAC) will build the capability of their ranger cohort to carry out biosecurity activities on their land and sea country in the Shelburne Bay area of eastern Cape York including 10 freehold islands and Harmer River. The grant funding would be used for purchase of equipment to allow biosecurity services as directed by the DAWE to be delivered, as well as training to build the capacity and knowledge of rangers to be able to carry out their duties. Safety procedures and required certifications for equipment usage would be included. The area of land includes 80,669 ha of Wuthathi freehold land and 37,270 ha of national park land, giving a total of 117,939 ha. This ecologically sensitive land is approximately 100 kms south of the tip of Cape York. Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC $151,157
Safeguarding Indigenous-led forestry in northern Australia Indigenous communities in northern Australia own and manage around 46 million ha of forest, including socioeconomically important forestry enterprises such the 30,000ha plantation hardwoods on the Tiwi Islands and the native forest sawmill and woodworks of Gumatj, East Arnhem, NT. Both community forestry businesses recently commenced RD&E projects that address forest production, but neither project has the specific biosecurity goals needed to protect their forests from pests and disease threats.  This project will complement existing projects and strengthen the partnership between northern Australian biosecurity specialists to safeguard important Indigenous-led forestry businesses, and to identify mechanisms to improve biosecurity best practice as business-as-usual (BAU) for these enterprises. Developing and testing the training tools and techniques for improving biosecurity and surveillance is anticipated to have wider impact assisting Indigenous managers in northern Australia. Plant Health Australia Limited (PHA)
Supported by
Gumatj Corporation
Wik Timbers
Tiwi Plantations Corporation
NT Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
University of the Sunshine Coast
Badu Biosecurity Hub Stage one-planning and design This project will allow for a feasibility study/preliminary business plan to support the establishment of am Indigenous owned and run decontamination facility on Badu Island.   Crystal Ailan has existing infrastructure on Badu Island and it is believed that there is a business opportunity for Badu Island to become a Biosecurity Hub for the outer islands of the Torres Strait.  The feasibility study will investigate what the needs/requirements of the region are, develop a capital budget, cost benefit analysis and engage with stakeholders to understand the operating environment. COE will investigate and cost all associated licences, training and personal protection equipment required for an indigenous owned and operated enterprise. COE has extensive experience in supporting remote indigenous businesses. Community Owned Enterprises Ltd $39,106
Waste and Material Biosecurity Management Project The Waste and Material Biosecurity Management Project will see the development of a targeted Waste and Material Biosecurity Management Plan for the Torres Strait Island Regional Council that will underpin the guiding principles and objectives outlined in the Torres Strait Regional Biosecurity Plan 2018-2023 which was developed as part of a regional collaboration. Torres Strait Island Regional Council $312,475
Total      $2,438,005.00


Last reviewed: 21 August 2021
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