Environmental Biosecurity Framework

The Environment and Invasives Committee has released a Framework for Transforming and Strengthening Australia’s Environmental Biosecurity System (the Framework) - now and into the future.

Development of the Framework was led by Australia’s Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer and involved consultation with all state and territory governments and the Environmental Biosecurity Advisory Group, membership of which includes a number of community and environmental NGO groups, to ensure it conveys our collective goals and promotes a shared vision and purpose.

The Framework sets out current activities and focus areas where measures can be strengthened to further develop our knowledge, preparedness, surveillance and response to environmental biosecurity risks. It is also designed to provide an overview of the working components and directions for improving national environmental biosecurity, which will be revised when required as progress is made and emphasis changes.

Guided by a set of Principles, the Framework will be the foundation for governments, community and environmental NGO groups, individuals and industry to strengthen collaboration, improve awareness, and drive better environmental biosecurity outcomes.


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Biosecurity protects Australian livelihoods and is vital to strengthening and supporting our environment and economy, including tourism, trade and agriculture. It underpins many aspects of our way of life. - National Biosecurity Statement 2019

Our natural environment makes Australia unique. Biosecurity keeps it that way.


A trusted and robust biosecurity system that embeds consideration of, and actions to address, exotic and emerging pests, weeds and diseases that threaten our natural environment, social amenity, and the resilience of our landscapes


One system working together to protect our key environmental assets

Understand the risks

Improve research, intelligence, data, risk assessment and prioritisation of pests, weeds and diseases, and the assets and values to be protected

Prevent arrival of exotic pests, weeds and diseases to Australia

Appropriate regulatory powers and actions, and awareness activities that support the public and industry to fulfill their biosecurity obligations.

Intercept at the border

Strengthen understanding and awareness, pathway analysis and commercial solutions

Minimise spread and impact

Progress revised NEBRA, Invasives Plan framework, and national preparedness

Manage pests, weeds and diseases that cannot be eradicated

Prepare for and respond to incursions

Support implementation of national, state and local plans and programs

Put the community, including First Nations groups, at the centre of our actions

Detect incursions beyond the border

Enhance surveillance, including through citizen science, and taxonomic /diagnostic capabilities

National framework goals

  • Improving community awareness, engagement and participation
  • A greater understanding of the personal and cultural values connected to Country and our environment
  • Effective collaboration to better manage biosecurity risk and response

Key Principles that will underpin strong environmental biosecurity

  • Recognise the economic, human health, intrinsic, cultural, amenity and First Nations’ value of a healthy environment and the services it
  • Work smarter together as government, industry and the community in partnership, seeking opportunities to collaborate, identify and share
    resources, and take action
  • Strive for improvement through innovation by embracing new technologies and strategies that strengthen and transform our biosecurity system
  • Adopt a risk-based approach based on sound science and economics to align agreed priorities and investments with maximum public benefit and return
  • Share information and knowledge to support a culture of transparency, learning and awareness
  • Develop greater understanding of our environment, the state of our environment and our relationship with the environment

National Environmental Biosecurity Strategy

Work towards a National Strategy, guided by this framework and building on other plans and strategies for invasive species, plant biosecurity and animal biosecurity.

The Strategy should align with the key principles, with a strong collaboration and partnerships focus, including the role of community
groups and individuals.

It will enable the identification of key actions, including where greater collaboration, cooperation and resourcing is required. This may be from government, philanthropic sources, and/or volunteer contributions.

The Strategy should be developed together with input from First Nations People, relevant committees and key stakeholders. The Strategy may be separate from or a part of any national biosecurity strategy work that might be undertaken.

Environmental Biosecurity Status Report

As trade volumes continue to grow and we experience increased greater variability in our climate, Australia needs to work smarter and more effectively to keep pace with new and emerging threats to priority environmental and cultural assets. A periodic status report will help to maintain a shared understanding of the current state of environmental biosecurity to guide coordinated action and prioritisation.

Components of the report would include: up-to date information on priority risk and consequence assessments; the implementation status of relevant recommendations from key reviews and guiding strategies (2017 system review report, health of the biosecurity system, Convention on Biological Diversity targets and Aichi invasive alien species targets); Major projects underway and planned; a governance map; key collaborators; web resources and collated data on interceptions, detections and responses.

Current focus areas and programs


  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Global Risk of Invasion Mapping, Global Ecological Burden from Invasive Alien Species
  • Using national and global databases and modelling tools on invasive species distribution and spread, EcoCommons, Atlas of Living Australia
  • Risk assessments for pests, weeds and diseases and live imports
  • Incident awareness of risks such as phytophthora, weed seed movement, wildlife disease
  • Innovation, 3D x rays and machine learning in the mail pathway, eDNA for surveillance, acoustic detection, artificial intelligence for seed identification

Surveillance and eradication

  • National Marine surveillance program, National Forests Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy, Community Animal Health Reporting Programme, Torres Strait Islands dog survey, CEBRA risk assessment frameworks for areas of high conservation value
  • National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program
  • Community awareness and engagement. Weed warriors, Pestblitz, FeralScan, iNaturalist
  • Support from existing programs/projects. E.g. Landcare, established pests, myrtle rust

Biosecurity and resilience

  • Jurisdictions taking leadership of their threatened species lists/legislation and threat abatement plans (an important part of biosecurity)
  • Abating key threats to biodiversity - 21 nationally listed Key Threatening Processes that threaten native species or ecological communities and 13 approved Threat Abatement Plans
  • Climate change research
  • Support for bushfire recovery
Last reviewed: 26 August 2021
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