2020-56 - Plant Export Operations – Nationally harmonised framework for managing biosecurity treatments

20 August 2020

Purpose

This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to invite industry to participate in a survey about a nationally harmonised framework for managing biosecurity treatments.

Key points

  • A National Biosecurity Committee treatments harmonisation working group has been established to explore a nationally harmonised framework for managing biosecurity treatments.
  • Methyl bromide treatments is being used as a pilot case for exploring of this framework.
  • We are seeking industry feedback on the harmonised framework through Have your say.
  • The survey closes 11 September 2020.

Background

The fundamental process for achieving an effective biosecurity treatment is the same regardless of the jurisdiction the treatment is performed in and the intended destination of the goods.

Despite this, the current requirements for conducting biosecurity treatments are different across the import, export and domestic pathways.

The inconsistency between current treatment methodologies, requirements, audits and sanctions policies across jurisdictions creates unnecessary complexity in the management of biosecurity treatments.

The National Biosecurity Committee treatments harmonisation working group (the working group) has been established to explore a nationally harmonised framework for managing biosecurity treatments. The working group has representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, state and territory governments and Plant Health Australia.

Framework principles

The working group is still in the early stages of exploring how a nationally consistent framework would work but are considering a framework based on the following minimum principles

  • consistent training and accreditation requirements across jurisdictions
  • reciprocal recognition of accreditation between jurisdictions
  • consistent treatment application requirements across jurisdictions
  • harmonised and streamlined audit requirements across jurisdictions
  • reciprocal recognition of audit outcomes between jurisdictions.

First up – Accreditation

A review of individual methyl bromide treatment accreditations is being undertaken as the first step in exploring a nationally consistent system.

Currently, different jurisdictions require different levels of training and accreditation for individuals prior to issuing approval to conduct methyl bromide fumigations for biosecurity purposes.

The working group is exploring a model that will be consistent across jurisdictions and specific to biosecurity treatments. 

What’s next – Treatment methodologies

The second element that will be explored is harmonised methyl bromide treatment application requirements.

Currently treatment providers need to meet different treatment requirements depending on the pathway the commodity is intended for, for example the Methyl Bromide Fumigation Methodology for import and protocol export treatments and the Interstate Certification Assurance on Fumigating with Methyl Bromide (ICA04) for domestic treatments.

The proposed model will ensure that the treatment application requirements are the same regardless of the jurisdiction the treatment is performed in and the intended pathway.

Later on – Audits

The principles supporting compliance assessments and cross-jurisdictional recognition of these activities will be investigated in later stages.

What we want to know

To inform the exploration of the new framework, we want to hear from people who know how Australia’s biosecurity requirements are applied on the ground. Help us ensure that we incorporate your ideas and views into the design.

We are seeking feedback through a survey from 20 August – 11 September 2020.

Go to Have your say to provide feedback on the harmonised framework.

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding this IAN please email AFAS.

David Ironside
Assistant Secretary
Plant Export Operations Branch

Last reviewed: 21 August 2020
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