Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB)

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) is an agreement between all Australian governments.

The agreement:

  • sets out commitments for the Australian Government, and state and territory governments
  • outlines the agreed national goals and objectives
  • clarifies roles, responsibilities and governance arrangements.

It is signed by:

  • the Prime Minister
  • premiers
  • chief ministers.

The agreement came into effect on 3 January 2019. It replaces the previous IGAB which started in 2012.

A stronger biosecurity system

The IGAB is an important part of Australia’s biosecurity architecture. Its role is to:

  • strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system
  • enhance national collaboration among Australian governments
  • support our biosecurity system to meet current and future challenges.


This agreement is part of Australian agriculture ministers’ response to the independent panel’s final report, Priorities for Australia’s biosecurity system.

This report reviewed the:

  • capacity of the national biosecurity system
  • implementation and effectiveness of the previous IGAB and its schedules.

The report made 42 recommendations for strengthening the national biosecurity system, all of which have been agreed to or agreed to in principle by agriculture ministers. The agreement will be reviewed again in five years.


Under the IGAB, the National Biosecurity Committee:

  • provides strategic management and oversight of the national biosecurity system and intergovernmental relationships
  • oversees the operation of the agreement.

Priority reform areas

The National Biosecurity Committee is focusing on priority areas that will guide implementation of the agreement. These areas were agreed to by agriculture ministers on 25 October 2018.                        

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A unified, strategic framework for the national biosecurity system

Outcomes Key deliverables
Improved governance, stakeholder participation and partnership in the national biosecurity system

A national biosecurity statement, developed in collaboration with industry and community participants, confirming roles and responsibilities for all system participants.

A new intergovernmental agreement on biosecurity, with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and core commitments.

A formal industry and community reference group to provide advice to the National Biosecurity Committee on emerging priorities and referred issues.

A national biosecurity website, acting as a single point of access for the broader community and providing greater accountability for government decision making.

An effective community and environmental consultative forum.

A consistent approach to biosecurity risk prioritisation and investment across the system

A national information sharing, intelligence and analytics system, to support scenario planning, risk identification and resource allocation.

A prioritisation and implementation strategy for the national biosecurity research, development and extension priorities.

A national investment allocation model (RRRA or other).

A national framework for biocontrol investment and application, including use of biotechnologies.

A sustainable and equitable approach to resourcing national biosecurity system activities

A revised national framework for cost sharing biosecurity activities, to be made public.

A national biosecurity cost-recovery framework and review of biosecurity cost-recovery and levy arrangements to ensure they are nationally consistent, appropriate and transparent.

A strategy for skill development and retention

A stocktake of professional capacity across the biosecurity system, identifying and highlighting key areas of risk.

A strategy to build and retain national capacity in key gap areas.

Enhanced national capacity to manage risks associated with priority pests and diseases

Outcomes Key deliverables
A strategic approach to pest and disease surveillance pre-border, at the border and within the country

A national surveillance strategy for priority plant pests and diseases.

An annual national high risk pathway report with recommendations to mitigate risk.

Improved environmental biosecurity risk management

Framework and implementation strategy for pests and diseases with meaningful environmental impacts, including a national environmental priority pest and disease list.

Agreed arrangements within each jurisdiction in relation to biosecurity risk management across agricultural and environmental agencies.

Strengthened emergency response arrangements

Diagnostic capacity stocktake and strategy to enable effective resource sharing to support response activity.

National action plans for key incursion risks.

New aquatic animal disease response deed and exotic production weed response deed.

A refreshed National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement.
National protocols for movement control decisions in event of an incursion.

Reducing impediments to maintaining and growing market access

Outcomes Key deliverables
A single national traceability framework for animal and plant products

Nationally consistent property identification code system with agreed business rules, supported by appropriate legislation and administrative arrangements.

Nationally consistent livestock movement reporting arrangements.

A strategy and implementation plan to help support industry to support on-farm commitment to biosecurity, focused on planning and traceability.

Develop arrangements for national sharing of traceability information by government and industry, as applicable, to support biosecurity, food safety and market access requirements.

A national strategy to enhance the traceability of horticultural products for biosecurity and market access.

Performance review of electronic identification options, with sheep in Victoria as a case study, to assess options for national adoption.

Clearer prioritisation of efforts to support market access priorities, supporting better resource allocation

An agreed priority-setting process to guide Australia’s market access strategies, including engagement through the Industry and Community Reference Group.

A review of the total effort and costs associated with demonstrating area freedom by jurisdictions and the value of that trade.

More effective and efficient movement arrangements, that safeguard biosecurity risk but with reduced red tape for industry participants

Review of opportunities for alignment between international and domestic protocols.

Review and implementation of a strategy to increase consistency and reduce red tape across interstate protocols and arrangements.

Improved system performance and accountability

Outcomes Key deliverables
Improved decision making and operational efficiency and effectiveness
Increased capacity to measure and demonstrate the performance of the national biosecurity system
Improved accountability of jurisdictions for commitments under the IGAB

A performance framework to assess the outcomes of the national biosecurity system and delivery of jurisdictional commitments, including an agreed set of performance indicators and commitments to guide annual reporting to AGSOC.

Public reporting of jurisdictional investment in the system, including research, development and extension.

Support for an independent review of the system performance and delivery of commitments under the inter-governmental agreement, to be made public.

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