Key themes of change

​Changes to Australia’s biosecurity system will help us to meet increasing demand and ensure the biosecurity system is effective and sustainable into the future. The five themes of change activity are consistent with the those outlined in the Beale review and are informed by previous reviews and stakeholder needs.

Implementing a risk–based approach to biosecurity management

The department is moving to a risk–based approach to biosecurity operations in which resources are focused on the risks of greatest biosecurity concern. Implementation of a risk–based approach is a central component of the reform program; and will allow the allocation of effort and resources on the highest biosecurity risks, while maintaining assurance on lower risk items and pathways.

Risk–based operations will reduce the administrative burden on compliant clients, enabling faster clearance at the border through better targeting and focus on higher risk commodities and stakeholder behaviours. It will also reduce delays for industry and cut the costs for clients who actively and conscientiously take account of biosecurity risks.

Managing biosecurity risk across the continuum – offshore, at the border and onshore

The reforms aim to develop an integrated approach across the biosecurity continuum, involving offshore, border and onshore activities.

In addition to traditional border–focussed operations, offshore activities reduce the risks of exotic pests and diseases reaching Australia. It provides assurance to the community, improves access to international markets through better intelligence, strengthened international agreements and partnerships (including capacity building) and treatments in the country of origin.

Onshore activities detect and respond to biosecurity incursions and facilitate market access opportunities through activity including enhanced surveillance, sampling, diagnostics, emergency response arrangements, and strengthened partnerships with states and territories to monitor and respond effectively to incursions and other biosecurity issues.

Strengthening partnerships with clients and stakeholders

A central tenet of the reform program is the need to strengthen the partnership approach to reflect the shared responsibility for biosecurity between all stakeholders.

Ultimately, industry will be able to take a greater role in managing biosecurity risks where it is feasible to do so with support and oversight from the department; reducing the level of intervention from the department and allowing greater flexibility in business operations. The department is also working together with state and territory governments, international trading partners, and organisations to share information, have clear roles and responsibilities across the continuum and ensure every stakeholder is supported to effectively manage biosecurity risk.

Using robust science, being intelligence–led and evidence–based

Management of biosecurity risks will be informed by intelligence and evidence, building on the department’s current science–based assessments that underpin biosecurity risk management and decision making. Being evidence–based ensures that biosecurity decision–making is informed by current and robust scientific and economic evidence, and operational experience.

Using information and intelligence will allow the department to tailor resources and processes to continually respond to changes in risk drivers and to better target and forecast emerging risks. This holistic approach of intelligence, evidence and science based decision making will ensure the effective and efficient analysis of biosecurity risks to maintain Australia’s favourable pest and disease status.

Developing and implementing modern legislation, technology, funding and business systems.

Modern legislation will simplify and clarify biosecurity regulatory requirements; resulting in greater consistency in the application of regulations and reduce the regulatory burden on industry and users of the biosecurity system. ICT systems will also enable the risk–based approach.

Sustainable funding of the biosecurity system will see modern arrangements in place to ensure that costs are recovered where appropriate and business systems will provide assurance of the biosecurity system and ensure processes are documented and consistent, maintaining integrity and due diligence.