Subcommittee on National Plant Health Surveillance (SNPHS)

​​The principal focus of the SNPHS is to maintain and improve Australia’s plant health surveillance capacity and capability in support of the economy, environment and community.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Advise Plant Health Committee (PHC) and its subcommittees on matters relating to plant health surveillance, including new and emerging threats, innovation and challenges.
  2. Work with PHC, its subcommittees and Plant Health Australia (PHA) to implement surveillance aspects of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity and the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy.
  3. Facilitate the development of a National Plant Health Surveillance Strategy, including relevant implementation plans to promote a nationally coordinated and risk based surveillance system.
  4. Coordinate and provide a forum for refinement and/or development of policies, standards, procedures and measures relating to plant pest surveillance that is consistent with national and international standards and agreements, and provides a sound and defensible knowledge of plant health status that underpins market access.
  5. Develop a framework for priority plant pests or groups of pests for national plant pest surveillance.
  6. Facilitate development of effective, standardised and well-targeted resource material, networks, and record management to enhance plant pest surveillance in Australia.
  7. Provide a focal point for a communication network and collating summary data on surveillance activities.
  8. Provide advice to PHC for ongoing resource commitment by jurisdictions.
  9. Identify or establish the role of industry and community in risk based plant pest surveillance.
  10. Clarify how a range of surveillance activities, delivered by private or public sectors, can be recognised/endorsed by state, territory and federal authorities as contributing to evidence of pest freedom underpinning phytosanitary certification.
  11. Provide technical advice on surveillance requirements during response to pest incursions and assisting in preparation of the surveillance component of emergency plant pests (EPP) incursion response plans.
  12. Provide guidance for assessment of the cost effectiveness of programs as a prerequisite to committing expenditure on plant pest surveillance.
  13. Provide advice on plant pest surveillance aspects of system approaches to support trade.
  14. Identify national plant pest surveillance programs and provide an on-going assessment of Australia’s surveillance capacity.
  15. Facilitate development of standards and protocols to verify the effectiveness of national plant pest surveillance systems.
  16. Maintain a review of mobile device technology advances for surveillance data collection.


The SNPHS membership includes representatives from all jurisdictions and forestry, and is capable of providing biometric expertise for surveillance involved in pest incursion response as required. Non government members are observers from relevant organisation such as PHA, CSIRO and Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre.

The chair is selected from a member of SNPHS and agreed by consensus of the membership.

The secretariat for the SNPHS is provided by the department.

Parent committee

The SNPHS is a subcommittee of the Plant Health Committee.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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