Biosecurity Preparedness Plans

Biosecurity Preparedness Plans are plans that contribute to managing the likelihood and consequence of the establishment or spread in Australian territory of pests and diseases of biosecurity concern, and support Australia achieving its Appropriate Level of Protection (ALOP) which is a very low level of biosecurity risk, but not zero. They may also identify actions required to build Australia’s capability to prepare for exotic pests and diseases.

Biosecurity risk analyses recognise that these plans are in place and these are considered in assessments of the likelihood and consequence of pest and disease establishment or spread.

Early detection and rapid control of pests and diseases which have established or spread is critical to reducing the consequences for producers, allied industries, the environment and regional communities. Without Biosecurity Preparedness Plans, delays in detection and response would magnify the consequences of an incursion. Biosecurity Preparedness Plans can also reduce the likelihood of entry into Australian territory of pests and diseases because they can influence the potential exposure of plants and animals that are susceptible to particular pests and diseases.

The Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods) Determination 2016, made under subsection 174(1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015, requires that goods included in certain classes of goods, and that are subject of an import declaration, must not be brought or imported into Australian territory unless there is a listed Biosecurity Preparedness Plan(s) to manage the biosecurity risks associated with bringing or importing goods of a relevant class (or goods including goods of that class) into Australian territory.

For the purposes of the Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods) Determination 2016, the Biosecurity Preparedness Plans are listed in the List of Biosecurity Preparedness Plans.

Requirements of Biosecurity Preparedness Plans

Biosecurity Preparedness Plans require actions to manage biosecurity risks if a pest or disease is detected in Australia. Importers can rely on the listed Biosecurity Preparedness Plan(s), and pay for their use.  Alternatively, importers can develop their own equivalent Biosecurity Preparedness Plan to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the class of good. These plans will be assessed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and may result in further import conditions being imposed. Where a plan is assessed to be appropriate, it will be included in the List of Biosecurity Preparedness Plans published on the Department’s website and the plan will be made accessible on the website.

Biosecurity Preparedness Plans must outline the actions to manage the biosecurity risk associated with the relevant class of goods, and must include:

  • identification of pests and diseases that could be associated with the class of goods
  • specification of the methods of detection and diagnosis of the pests and diseases
  • identification of options and treatments to control and/or eradicate the pests and diseases
  • identification of appropriate awareness and communication activities to encourage reporting of pests and diseases by growers and those associated with the import supply chain
  • training and exercising needs for personnel to respond to pests and diseases
  • policies and standards, including traceability, required to support a response to pests and diseases
  • research and development requirements and national capability to support control and/or eradication of the pests and diseases
  • ways to ensure timely access to consumable materials, such as vaccines, traps and lures to enable a rapid response to the pests and diseases.

Importers who choose to develop their own equivalent Biosecurity Preparedness Plan should contact Preparedness to have their plan assessed.

Pests and diseases covered by plans

Biosecurity Preparedness Plans cover pests and diseases that Australian governments, industry groups and the community want to manage. These include:

Hitchhiker pests are invertebrates or other animals that have an opportunistic association with a commodity or item with which it has no biological host relationship. They may:

  • be attracted to habitats modified by humans
  • have life stages that require sheltered areas to avoid extreme conditions or to escape detection
  • have life stages involving dormancy, allowing them to survive extended periods in transit
  • have links with common contaminants like soil or plant material, and/or
  • be able to complete their life cycle in human environments or highly disturbed habitats or can move from an imported good and establish in a suitable habitat.

Contaminants are materials which may contain pests and diseases, such as soil, plant material, food residues, faeces or animal remains, or are a pest or disease in their own right, such as seeds, which may contaminate any good as it moves through the import pathway.

Last reviewed: 11 September 2020
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