Scientific Advisory Group

​The Scientific Advisory Group provides external advice on our biosecurity import risk analyses (BIRAs) and other processes such as non-regulated risk analyses.

The establishment of this group was funded under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Review process

As part of a biosecurity import risk analysis (BIRA), the Director of Biosecurity may ask the Scientific Advisory Group to examine and provide comments on the draft and provisional BIRA reports.

The group may be asked to consider whether:

  • technical submissions received from stakeholders in response to the draft BIRA report have been properly considered
  • all relevant matters relating to the likely economic consequences of a disease or pest incursion have been properly considered
  • the conclusions of the draft and provisional BIRA report are scientifically reasonable, based on the material presented.

Any requested comments and findings given by the group must be considered by the Director of Biosecurity in preparing the final BIRA report.

The group can only make recommendations for the Director of Biosecurity to consider as part of the BIRA process.

All final decisions rest with the Director of Biosecurity.

The Director of Biosecurity can also ask the group to provide advice in their capacity as independent experts on other biosecurity matters outside of BIRA processes.​

Appointment and membership

Under the Biosecurity Regulation 2016 the Director of Biosecurity must appoint external persons to be members of the Scientific Advisory Group.

Three positions in the group are filled by standing members, to ensure consistency in the process. These are the chair, an economist, and a risk analysis specialist.

Additional members can also be selected based on the scientific and technical expertise relevant to the good, or class of goods, being considered in the BIRA.

Suggestions for additional members will be sought from stakeholders, including state and territory governments and industry.

Current standing members

The Director of Biosecurity appointed the current Scientific Advisory Group in June 2019 for a term of three years.

  • Chair — Dr Joanne Daly PSM
  • Economist — Mr Steve McCutcheon
  • Risk analysis specialist — Mr Will Zacharin


Scientific Advisory Group secretariat
Phone: 1800 068 468
Email: Scientific Advisory Group

Last reviewed: 27 January 2021
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