South Australia Biosecurity Roundtable Report 11 April 2018

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Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, June 2018


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The 2018 South Australia (SA) Biosecurity Roundtable was held in Adelaide, on 11 April 2018.

The event was hosted by the National Biosecurity Committee together with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA).

What we heard from participants

  • Planning for recovery and adaptation in biosecurity is underdeveloped - need to think ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.
  • Maintaining or regaining market access – domestic and international – is critical in recovering from outbreaks.
  • Government, industry and research organisations find access to technology, expertise and information a challenge.
  • Good relationships and trust between industry and government matters.

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The 2018 Biosecurity Roundtable Program

The Biosecurity Roundtable Program consists of seven biosecurity roundtables in each state and territory (NSW and ACT are combined), two environmental biosecurity roundtables and a National Biosecurity Forum at the end of the year.

These events are an opportunity for biosecurity stakeholders to talk about biosecurity issues directly with Australian and state/territory government representatives, a wide range of industry members and producers together with environmental and community groups.

This year the theme for the program is ‘preparedness and response’, with activities on the day designed to seek input on:

  • preparedness and response arrangements across a range of biosecurity activities
  • gaps and possible solutions
  • roles and responsibilities in preparedness and response
  • successes and lessons learned
  • trusted sources of information on biosecurity


Will Zacharin, Executive Director of Biosecurity SA, opened the roundtable, outlining the day’s focus on participation and opportunities to meet colleagues across industry, community and government.

Commonwealth update

First Assistant Secretary Matthew Koval from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources delivered the Commonwealth Update. Mr Koval emphasised the benefits of the roundtables for sharing expertise, lessons learned and working together to improve the biosecurity system. He highlighted key activities of the department including continuing the momentum of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper investment and responding to the recommendations in the Priorities for Australia’s Biosecurity system review report (2017) through activities such as:

  • finalisation of emergency response deeds for aquatic animals and exotic production weeds
  • leading the development of a National Biosecurity Statement
  • developing a priority list for environmental pests and diseases
  • establishment of Industry and Community Reference Group under the National Biosecurity Committee
  • introduction of the Biosecurity Matters website, and distribution of public engagement material featuring ‘Jeff’.

State update

The South Australia (SA) Government Update, delivered by Will Zacharin, provided an overview of state policy directions and current biosecurity activities and challenges. He outlined the recently released State Biosecurity Policy 2017-21, and explained that the SA government is considering the review of current biosecurity legislation to bring SA into alignment with other states. Mr Zacharin highlighted a range of current challenges and activities including:

  • fruit fly and Khapra beetle incursions, Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome outbreak, and interstate certification challenges
  • new industrial production schemes for hemp and poppy cultivation
  • finalisation of a national residue certification in the plant area
  • expansion of traceability schemes for livestock, assurance values and the formal launch of One Biosecurity in late 2018
  • food safety and AgVet chemicals priorities
  • invasive pest animal and weed activities

For the latest news from Biosecurity SA watch out for the new biosecurity e-newsletter. To keep up to date on activities and initiatives in animal health, plant health, invasive species, emergency management and food safety, please subscribe to the new Biosecurity Advisory e-newsletter.

Trees for Life – Samantha Jones

With over 3,000 members and 1,200 active volunteers, Trees for Life is at the forefront of bush regeneration in SA. Samantha Jones provided an overview of the organisations activities, which showed that Trees for Life holds invaluable field information on weed species distribution, plant disease and vertebrate pests as well as sophisticated local ecological knowledge. Volunteers have access to continuous learning pathways, and use best practice biosecurity hygiene, GIS monitoring and mapping and biological controls - providing important early recognition of emerging biosecurity risks in the natural environment.

South Australia Oyster Growers Association – Trudy McGowan

Trudy McGowan outlined how the South Australia Oysters Growers Association has helped adapt SA production practices and has, in conjunction with PIRSA, developed high levels of preparedness for a SA outbreak following the detection of POMS (Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome) in 2016 in Tasmania. An immediate stock standstill and eradication response was put in place with the discovery of POMS in South Australian wild oysters in February 2018. Proof of freedom was granted on 6 April, achieved through a combination of “open communication and an unbelievable level of trust” between growers and PIRSA, which Ms McGowan explained came from the shared goal of “the need to keep the industry going”. With 2018-19 sales for growers predicted to be 30 per cent of 2016 sales, supporting growers has been critical. The association has endeavoured to provide support through face to face meetings between growers, PIRSA and rural support services.

Livestock SA – Joe Keynes

JoeKeynes explained the history of Livestock SA, and explained the development of the ‘One Biosecurity’ program by PIRSA. One Biosecurity will provide a voluntary, audited producer to consumer traceability program for livestock. It is due to be launched in late 2018, and will provide online biosecurity advice and guidelines for producers as well as up to date disease information status for properties.

Potatoes South Australia – Robbie Davis

With the discovery of Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) in WA, business continuity has been a key focus of Potatoes South Australia. Growing 80 per cent of Australia’s fresh supermarket potatoes and with key production facilities interstate across Australia, loss of access to interstate trade would cost $2 million per day. Potatoes South Australia and other industry bodies are working closely with PIRSA to develop a national biosecurity response prior to a detection of TPP in the eastern states – ‘a blueprint for any incursion in any industry.’ Potatoes South Australia has also worked for the last five years (since its establishment) with Victorian colleagues to gain recently achieved access to the Indonesian seed potato market.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Karina Keast

Karina Keast provided an overview of Australia’s national emergency response deeds and agreements, which include the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA), the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) and the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA). Ms Keast explained the purpose of the deeds, the triggers and decision making processes, and the ability for industries to access response funds under the deeds and reimburse the Commonwealth Government through levies over time. The national deeds/agreements complement industry and state arrangements as they are only activated in circumstances where eradication of a pest or disease is:

  • technically feasible
  • cost beneficial, and
  • in the national interest

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is currently focused on leading development of an Exotic Production Weed Deed and Aquatic Animal Deed.


South Australia’s National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) representative, Will Zacharin, introduced the National Biosecurity Statement (NBS), which is being developed with industry, environmental and community groups and the public.

John Virtue, Biosecurity SA, led table based exercises on the roles and responsibilities component of the statement. He asked participants to discuss their roles in the biosecurity system and in improving its efficiency, the concept of stewardship, the roles and responsibilities of major institutions, the benefits of an agreed set of roles and responsibilities for system participants and how we can measure if they are meeting these obligations.

Participants responses highlighted:

  • the need for industry participants to understand their roles including in relation to the response deeds and agreements
  • the need for broader community engagement on biosecurity
  • the difficulty of defining stewardship and the boundaries of shared responsibilities
  • the critical need for consistency across jurisdictions
  • the need to review and introduce new technologies
  • the need for uniform legislation
  • critical role of market access continuity planning
  • the need to train new players and engage with associated sectors such as tourism and service providers with a focus on behaviour change.

Public consultation on the National Biosecurity Statement is now open – see page 8 for further information on how you can get involved.

Developing a SA Biosecurity Strategy

John Virtue, Biosecurity SA, led a workshop discussing the development of a SA Biosecurity Strategy. The State Biosecurity Policy 2017-2021 was released last year, which outlines the principles and priority elements currently guiding government biosecurity policy.

In line with other states, PIRSA is proposing the development of a SA Biosecurity Strategy in conjunction with producers, industry groups, environmental and community groups. The strategy would include stakeholder requirements, balancing aspirational aims with achievable outcomes. John asked participants if they saw benefit in development of a SA strategy and they overwhelmingly supported it.

Participants were then asked to consider a range of issues relating to its development. Questions and responses are included below.

1. What are your key concerns with how biosecurity is done at present?

Understanding roles and responsibilities, identifying key priorities, declining expertise in a declining resources base, need for Commonwealth leadership to drive consistency, difficulty of multifactor issues, data management capacities, measuring outcomes, and consistency of responses to incidents.

2. Which key features of the current system are highly valued?

Well established working relationships between industry and government, trust and valuing of the biosecurity space, strength and integrity of current measures including the national emergency response deeds, and collective responsiveness in times of crisis.

3. What changes would improve the system’s performance?

Accessible databases across jurisdictions and sectors, education to all levels of industry, better sharing of intelligence, broader debriefings after outbreaks, greater resource focus on high priority environmental pests, improved community support for self-reporting by producers or individuals on incursions, better understanding of biosecurity awareness among stakeholders leading to better communications, extension of traceability to more commodities and food chains, and better coordination of decision making between state and Commonwealth governments.

4. Which innovations would be game-changers for biosecurity in SA (no limits)?

Unlimited sharing of resources, integration of all technologies, enhanced diagnostic and data management capacities, expansion of community engagement to include school programs, biosecurity champions.

Going forward, PIRSA will ensure linkage to national policy and strategies. A small group of industry, community and government stakeholders will work on the strategy, building on a blueprint to be developed by PIRSA.

Building preparedness and response capabilities across government, industry and community

Nic Smith, PIRSA, led a workshop looking at ‘preparedness and response’. This worked through an incursion scenario with a panel of government and industry representatives responding to questions and comments from the participants. Key points to emerge were that at detection, the number of existing hotlines is confusing, and there are various pathways for reporting following existing relationships and systems, with trust a key issue.

The knowledge gap between industry bodies and individual producers was also identified, with pre-planning and social support of particular concern. The vital role of traceability in maintaining business continuity, appropriate quarantine measures, data management and broader response planning was discussed across a range of industries.

Government and industry communicating in tandem emerged as critical in managing market responses and assisting producers. Engagement with national emergency response deeds varies across industry sectors as does planning for recovery and adaptation. The latter emerged as a space requiring better resourcing and education.

Biosecurity Information Survey

Thank you to participants who completed the biosecurity information survey.

Initial analysis of the completed surveys highlighted the primary role of industry groups or associations as sources of information. Ninety-two per cent of respondents accessing information via emails or newsletters, followed by face to face contact for 84 per cent of respondents with only 30 per cent using information sent by post.

Full results will be collated and distributed prior to the National Biosecurity Forum in November 2018.

The survey is available for organisations or industry bodies to run with their own members – please contact the Biosecurity Roundtable Secretariat and we will email templates to you Biosecurity Roundtable or phone 1800 068 468.


One hundred fourteen invitations were sent out with forty two participants (in bold) taking part in the roundtable, representing a wide range of organisations including:

  • Adelaide Produce Market
  • Agricultural Produce Commission - Apple and Pear Growers
  • Almond Board of Australia
  • Animal Health Australia
  • Apple & Pear Growers Association
  • Aquatic Biosecurity
  • Australian Abalone Growers Association
  • Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
  • Australian Forest Products Association
  • Australian Grain Export Pty Ltd
  • Australian Grape and Wine Authority
  • Australian Mushroom Growers Association
  • Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association
  • Australian Veterinary Association
  • Australian Veterinary Association – SA branch
  • Australian Vintage
  • Australian Wine Research Institute
  • Balco
  • Barossa Grape and Wine Association
  • Bionomics Limited
  • Birds SA
  • Blue Lake Milling
  • Boating Industries Alliance Australia
  • Citrus Australia - SA Region
  • Cleanseas
  • Conservation Council of SA
  • Egg Layers Association
  • Emu Industry Federation of Australia
  • Environmental Defenders Office SA
  • Ferguson Australia
  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • Food SA
  • Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species
  • Frontier International Agri (NT & VIC)
  • Gallard Services
  • Grain Growers Limited
  • Grain Industry Association South Australia
  • Grain Producers South Australia
  • Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation
  • Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association Inc
  • Green Triangle Regional Plantation Committee
  • Hort Innovation
  • HORTEX Alliance
  • JT Johnsons
  • Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management
  • Landcare Association of SA
  • Landcare Australia
  • Local Government Association of South Australia
  • Livestock Biosecurity Network
  • Livestock SA
  • Logistics Information and Navigation Centre
  • Meat & Livestock Australia
  • Mussel Industry
  • National Trust South Australia
  • Natural History Society of South Australia
  • Nature Conservation Society of SA
  • Nature Foundation SA
  • Noon Winery
  • NRM Board - Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges
  • NRM Board - Alinytjara Wilurara
  • NRM Board - Eyre Peninsula
  • NRM Board - Kangaroo Island
  • NRM Board - Northern & Yorke
  • NRM Board - SA Murray-Darling Basin
  • NRM Board - South Australian Arid Lands
  • NRM Board - South East SA
  • Nursery & Garden Industry South Australia
  • Nursery and Garden Industry Australia
  • Nut Producers Australia
  • Olives South Australia
  • Olives Victoria
  • Onions Australia
  • P&D Exports
  • Pistachio Growers Association Incorporated
  • Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre
  • Plant Health Australia
  • Pork SA
  • Potatoes South Australia
  • Primary Producers SA
  • Producers Forum for Biotechnology Access
  • Robarra Broodstock Sanctuary and Hatchery
  • SA Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries
  • SA Dairyfarmers
  • South Australian Research and Development Institute
  • South Australia Rock Lobster Advisory Council Inc.
  • South Australian Cattle Advisory Group
  • South Australian Chicken Meat Council
  • South Australian Dairyfarmers Association
  • South Australian Freight Council
  • South Australian Grain Industry Trust Fund
  • South Australian Oyster Growers Association
  • South Australian Produce Markets
  • South Australian Sheep Advisory Group
  • Southern Rock Lobster Ltd.
  • Trees for Life
  • University of Adelaide
  • Vinehealth Australia
  • Viterra Ltd / Glencore
  • Weed Management Society of South Australia
  • Wildcatch Fisheries South Australia
  • Wildlife Health Australia
  • Wine Australia
  • Wine Grape Growers Australia
  • Winegrape Council of SA
  • Winemakers’ Federation of Australia
  • Zoos SA

Attendance by sector - South Australia biosecurity roundtable 2018

Pie chart of attendance by sector for SA biosecurity roundtable 2018. Plant 32%, Government 18%, Environment 18%, Animal 15%, Fisheries & aquaculture 11%, Supplementary 6%. 

Consultation is now open on the National Biosecurity Statement

A draft National Biosecurity Statement is available for public consultation on the Have Your Say​ platform on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Stakeholder feedback is vital to producing a National Biosecurity Statement that we can all hold up as core to our mutual commitment to a national biosecurity system.

Feedback on the statement is welcome at any time throughout the process. We welcome organisations and communities undertaking their own consultation internally and reporting back their findings for consideration. To assist in this process, the department has developed a consultation toolkit, which is available electronically to those interested. Feedback can also be sent directly to Biosecurity Consultation. Consultation closes 31 October 2018.

What is a National Biosecurity Statement?

The statement will present a common and unifying approach to biosecurity for all system participants, articulating:

  • a national vision and goals
  • roles and responsibilities
  • priorities and principles for managing biosecurity risk.

Consultation principles

  • Participation: all have an important role to play within the biosecurity system.
  • Shared responsibility (or stewardship): everyone takes responsibility for biosecurity matters within their control. Everyone has an obligation to take action to protect Australia from pests and diseases.
  • Openness and transparency: gathering a wide range of views to develop a unifying statement, which establishes a common understanding of biosecurity, shared responsibility and Australia’s approach to managing this risk.

Next steps…

Consultation on the statement will continue throughout the year at state and territory biosecurity roundtables and environmental biosecurity roundtables, as well as Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia member forums.

A final statement, incorporating feedback received throughout the consultation period, will be presented to stakeholders for endorsement at the 2018 National Biosecurity Forum on 22 November. It will then be endorsed by the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), Agriculture Senior Officials’ Committee and the Agricultural Ministers’ Forum. Throughout this period, industry and other organisations will have an opportunity to have the statement considered by their respective boards or management teams. The aim is for the statement to be publically launched in 2019.

For background on the development of the statement visit Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review Final Report.

South Australia biosecurity roundtable agenda





Tea/coffee on arrival


Opening and Welcome

Facilitator: John Virtue, PIRSA Biosecurity SA,
Will Zacharin, Executive Director, PIRSA Biosecurity SA


Govt. updates

Commonwealth update

Matthew Koval, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Water Resources (DAWR)


State update

Will Zacharin


Update/Workshop: National Biosecurity Statement and Roles & Responsibilities

Will Zacharin & John Virtue


Environ. update

The scope of environmental biosecurity



Industry updates

Industry biosecurity issues

  • Oyster industry
  • Potatoes industry
  • One Biosecurity for livestock

Trudy McGowan, SA Oyster Growers
Robbie Davis, Potatoes SA
Joe Keynes, Livestock SA


Morning tea


Strategic Priorities

Workshop: Developing a SA Biosecurity Strategy

John Virtue, PIRSA Biosecurity SA




Preparedness & Response

How do the emergency response deeds work?

Karina Keast, Responses Branch, DAWR



Workshop: Building preparedness and response capabilities across govt, industry & community

Elena Petrenas, PIRSA Biosecurity SA

Panel of government, industry and community stakeholders


Summing up and closing remarks

Will Zacharin and Matthew Koval


Roundtable networking (tea/coffee)


2018 Biosecurity Roundtable Program Calendar




11 April 2018

South Australia Biosecurity Roundtable


3 May 2018

Environmental Biosecurity Roundtable 1


7 June 2018

Tasmania Biosecurity Roundtable


4 July 2018

Western Australia Biosecurity Roundtable


2 August 2018

Victoria Biosecurity Roundtable


30 August 2018

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Biosecurity Roundtable


26 September 2018

Environmental Biosecurity Roundtable 2


11 October 2018

Queensland Biosecurity Roundtable


31 October 2018

Northern Territory Biosecurity Roundtable


22 November 2018

National Biosecurity Forum


Next steps...

The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) would like to thank everyone who participated in the South Australia Biosecurity Roundtable for their time and contributions. The discussions and ideas from the Roundtable will feed into the agenda for the National Biosecurity Forum and other biosecurity governance and communication processes through the NBC and other avenues.

We value your feedback – if you have suggestions about this roundtable or the roundtable program please contact us at Biosecurity Roundtable.

Phone: 1800 068 468
Web: State and territory biosecurity roundtables and National Biosecurity Forum
Facebook: Australian biosecurity
Twitter: @DeptAgNews

Subscribe to Biosecurity Matters, a bi-monthly online newsletter providing readers with a greater understanding of the department's work in managing biosecurity risks overseas, at the border and within Australia.

Last reviewed: 30 September 2020
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