MPSC Communiqué - May 2015

​7 May 2015

Notes from the Chair

The Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (MPSC) held its ninth meeting (MPSC09) in Wellington, New Zealand in May 2015.  This meeting was preceded by the biannual Industry Consultation Day, presentations from New Zealand marine pest professionals, and the inaugural MPSC internal review session (‘MPSC review’).

I would like to extend my thanks to all who participated in MPSC09 and related meetings. I would especially like to thank our MPSC New Zealand observer and the staff at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research for hosting the meeting.  Both the MPSC review and Industry Consultation Day provided important guidance on future direction and goals for MPSC.  We also received invaluable feedback from our industry partners on improving breadth and depth of stakeholder engagement.

At MPSC09, we progressed a number of MPSC priority tasks, and addressed issues raised at the Industry Consultation Day and the MPSC review.  Highlights of the meeting included discussion of marine pest emergency preparedness opportunities, progress on drafting the MPSC Communications and Engagement Strategy, and agreement on a number of improvements to the format of the existing Industry Consultation Day.

I am looking forward to the next Industry Consultation Day where we can start to implement some of these changes and develop a stronger partnership.

As Chair, I would like to extend my thanks to MPSC members, observers and industry representatives for constructive and propulsive contributions to MPSC09 and associated meetings. 

Dr Robyn Martin
Chair MPSC09

MPSC Review —5 May 2015

At MPSC08, the committee agreed to undertake an internal strategic review of MPSC performance every two years.  The inaugural review took place on 5 May 2015, and examined MPSC performance against the terms of reference and objectives.  The review process consisted of a survey to gather results from MPSC members and industry stakeholders, followed by a face-to-face strategic review session. 

Outcomes of the MPSC review identified the following future aims for the committee:

  • Increase the involvement of existing stakeholders in identifying MPSC risks and priorities, and in the delivery of marine pest priority issues.
  • Broaden stakeholder attendance at future meetings.
  • Investigate marine pest emergency preparedness opportunities.
  • Finalise the national marine pest strategy.

Industry Consultation Day—6 May 2015

The Industry Consultation Day was held on 6 May 2015.

The day began with an update on the Australian Government review of national marine pest biosecurity (‘national review’).  The national review is currently being finalized, and review outcomes will be provided to government for consideration shortly.  The Chair also provided an update on the Biosecurity Act 2015.  This legislation aims to provide the Australian Government with a modern regulatory framework to better manage biosecurity risks in current and future trading environments, and is designed to be clear and easy to understand.  The Biosecurity Act 2015 also contains a framework to manage the risks associated with ballast water.  This allows Australia to meet its obligations under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments when it is ratified.  The Biosecurity Act 2015 passed through Australian Parliament on 14 May 2015, and will commence on 16 June 2016. 

Additional information on the biosecurity legislation can be found at Biosecurity Act 2015 and supporting Acts.

The day also included a presentation on the results of the MPSC review and discussion regarding the future of MPSC Industry Consultation Days.  Industry representatives emphasized the importance of allocating sufficient time for industry input into MPSC matters, and the value of demonstrating the impact of marine pests to industry executive officers and other stakeholders.

The day progressed with a number of presentations from New Zealand government and industry experts on marine pathway management, regional partnership approaches to marine biosecurity management, and marine science and taxonomic services in New Zealand. 

There was some discussion regarding increasing information flow to industry, and MPSC agreed to circulate future milestone reports on the establishment of the Australian Testing Centre for Marine Pests to industry.  There was also discussion regarding the Australian Priority Marine Pest List, which is currently being progressed, and the National Marine Pest Strategy, which will be progressed once the national review is completed.  This strategy will apply to all marine pest stakeholders. 

A highlight of the day was a visit to the New Zealand Marine Invasives Taxonomic Service, a centralised service that provides taxonomic identification and collection management of marine organisms relevant to marine biosecurity management in New Zealand.  Attendees were able to view a number of preserved marine species and observe the online microscope and portable marine invasive species demonstration kit. 

Future MPSC Industry Consultation Days

Following discussions at MPSC09, Industry Consultation Days will be undergoing a number of changes.  The current discussion and presentation sessions will be replaced with a workshop, where MPSC members and stakeholders will work together to progress key priority items.  When appropriate, additional stakeholders – such as environmental representatives – will also be invited to the workshop.  Workshops may also be themed, to be more applicable to specific groups of stakeholders.

The first ‘MPSC Partners Workshop’ will be held in conjunction with MPSC10.  The workshop will address the results of the national review, and progress both the MPSC Communications Strategy and the National Marine Pest Strategy alongside other key items.

MPSC is also currently considering removing restrictions on a number of ‘government only’ meeting papers to facilitate increased industry consultation. 

MPSC09 Meeting Notes—7 May 2015

Jurisdictional ‘round up’

Key marine pest biosecurity activities reported at MPSC09 included:

  • The Western Australian ‘VesselCheck’ software is currently available for international vessels. Software covering domestic vessels is under development.

    The VesselCheck software is available at Department of Fisheries WA Vessel Check.
  • The Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 is expected to come into force in early 2016 and will provide stronger legislative support for dealing with marine pests in Queensland waters.  Regulations to support the Act are currently under development. 

  • The Australian Government is currently progressing the marine pest Rapid Response Manuals, and aims to publish these by the end of the year.
  • The New Zealand Craft Risk Management Standards for Biofouling have been implemented, with a four year lead-in period before enforcement commences.

MPSC high priority work items

There has been progress on a number of MPSC high priority work items.

  • MPSC Communication and Engagement Strategy
    MPSC is currently drafting a strategy outlining how the committee will communicate and promote marine pest matters to stakeholders.  The aims of this strategy are to raise the level of support for marine biosecurity, and to maximise community and industry involvement in marine pest biosecurity management.  It is expected that this strategy will be completed by the end of the year.

  • Australian Priority Marine Pests List
  • A recent workshop in South Australia further progressed the Australian Priority Marine Pests List.  Once completed, this list will replace the now invalid CCIMPE trigger list.

  • National Marine Pest Biosecurity Strategy Development
    The national strategy is in the process of being redrafted to be more outcomes focused.  The strategy will not be finalised until outcomes of the national review are released later this year. 
  • National Monitoring Network (NMN) Cost Sharing
    Progress of the NMN cost sharing model is on track.  MPSC has contracted the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences to develop a location monitoring cost sharing model for surveillance.

Emergency Preparedness

MPSC members discussed the benefits of emergency preparedness simulation exercises.  Members are currently looking into resourcing requirements, with the aim of conducting an exercise during 2015-16.   This would involve industries and governments.

Update on activities in the aquarium sector

The main body of work in the aquarium sector is currently the noxious fish list.  Consultation is now occurring on the fourth tranche of this list. 

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries is currently testing a South Australian Research and Development Institute methodology for assessing whether species should be included on the noxious fish list. 

Further information is available on the Australian Government Department of the Environment website.

Upcoming MPSC meetings

The next MPSC meeting (MPSC10) will be held in Canberra in the latter part of 2015.

Future MPSC Communiqués

In line with other updates to MPSC processes, the MPSC communiqué is undergoing the following changes: 

Current Communiqués

Future Communiqués

Focus on a single MPSC meeting

Focus on all MPSC activities for the past six months.

Published twice a year

Published twice a year:

  • ‘Annual’ communiqué in early June
  • Interim communiqué in early December

These changes will be implemented from MPSC10 onwards.

Member contacts





Robyn Martin

Australian Government

Department of Agriculture


Kylie Higgins

Australian Government

Department of Agriculture


Rae Burrows

Western Australia

Department of Fisheries

Rae Burrows

Andrew Sanger

New South Wales

Department of Primary Industries

Andrew Sanger

John Robertson


Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

John Robertson

Murray Barton

Northern Territory

Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Murray Barton

Stuart McConnell


Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Stuart McConnell

John Virtue

South Australia

Primary Industries and Regions South Australia

John Virtue

Michael Askey-Doran


Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Michael Askey-Doran


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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