Biosecurity Matters, Issue 3, 2016

​​​​​Biosecurity Matters​

Special Edition 

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Deputy Secretary's Foreward

Image of Lyn O'ConnellDeputy Secretary

In this special edition of Biosecurity Matters we focus exclusively on what the commencement of the Biosecurity Act 2015 will mean for you.

The introduction of the new legislation on 16 June 2016 is a significant milestone for Australia.

The new laws are modern, purpose-built and flexible. They will support our biosecurity system into the future and accommodate advances in transport and technology as well as changes in trade and travel.

Continue reading the message from the Deputy Secretary

The Quarantine Act 1908 supported us well for 108 years. But times have changed since 1908. In the early years we were more concerned with looking out for signs of the plague and smallpox. These days we have an increased focus on the potential biosecurity risks to our agricultural industries and environment.

While all aspects of the Biosecurity Act will come into full force from commencement, some parts of the legislation have transitional arrangements of up to three years to give affected clients time to adjust to the new operating environment.  

Some key differences under the new legislation are detailed in this edition of Biosecurity Matters. If you read on you will find out about changes to import permits and conditions and what’s changing for airline and aircraft operators, the shipping industry, installations, quarantine-approved premises operators and compliance agreement holders.

In addition, this edition details how we’ve been engaging with you, our clients and stakeholders, to ensure that you understand what the new legislation means for your operations.

It’s been a long road to get to this milestone and it is really only the beginning of the journey. Thank you for joining us on this voyage and I look forward to working with you under an even stronger biosecurity system. 

Lyn O’Connell
Deputy Secretary, Biosecurity

Spreading the news

Information sessions on the new Biosecurity Act around Australia.

Everyone from farming bodies to business operators—and even zoos—have had a say in developing Australia’s new Biosecurity Act 2015.

Over the past eight months, industry and stakeholders have provided over 100 subm​issions to the department on delegated legislation under the Biosecurity Act.

Hundreds more participated in industry information se​ssions held around Australia during March and April this year. At these sessions a broad range of stakeholders and industry clients had a chance to hear and ask questions about how the new legislation might affect them and to provide feedback.

The views of stakeholders have helped to make sure that the legislation will work in ‘real world’ environments.

The department has provided information on its website as well as in industry advice notices which are issued to more than 4000 stakeholders. Industry groups have also helped spread the word by sharing information with their members.

The department has also published an interactive online e-learning tool to help industry and other government agencies better understand the Act.

Say what? New Biosecurity Act means new lingo

Biosecurity Officers at work.

One of the more noticeable changes that you can expect from us on 16 June 2016 is the way we communicate with you.

Below is a snapshot of some of the terms you might hear us say as we continue to manage the biosecurity risks associated with travellers, international mail, cargo, vessels and aircraft:

  • We’ll no longer talk about quarantine officers, but you will hear us talk about biosecurity officers and biosecurity enforcement officers.
  • Instead of imported cargo, plant and animal material, expect to hear us talk about goods.
  • We’ll still talk to you about aircraft, vessels and ships, but you might also come across conveyances, which is a new term for these modes of transport.
  • You’ll start to hear us talk more about biosecurity risk and even less about quarantine.
  • We’ll no longer talk about Quarantine Approved Premises or Compliance Agreements, but will instead refer to approved arrangements.
  • You’ll start to hear us talk about the ‘person in charge’.
  • We’ll talk about abandonment and forfeiture, but you won’t hear us talk about seizing your goods or conveyance.
  • We’ll talk about a Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis or a BIRA and not about an Import Risk Analysis or an IRA.

For more detail on new terminology and the definitions of these terms, read Chapter 1 Part 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2015.

While every effort is being made to update our information platforms to reflect the new legal framework, there may still be references to the Quarantine Act 1908 that require more time to update as part of broader systems reform—like the Vessels Management System that will remain untouched until the Maritime Arrivals and Reporting System is launched later in 2016.

If you have questions about the new terminology, contact the department via email or phone 1800 040 629.

What's changing on 16 June?

Biosecurity Officers at a First Point of Entry.

Everyone from regular importers and brokers to the shipping, cargo and airline industries need to know how the new Biosecurity Act 2015 affects them.

Information on how the Act will impact you can be found on our website at:

Information is also available on:

Changes to import conditions

Cherries have changed import conditions.

Certain goods will no longer require an import permit from 16 June and can be imported as long as import conditions are met.

When operations commence under the Biosecurity Act 2015, selected fresh and processed plant products, animal feeds, peat, used machinery and tyres may no longer require an import permit.

​​​Details of the goods that no longer require an import permit are available on the department’s website and further information is available in Industry Advice Notice 37-2016​.

Imports of these goods that arrive in Australia prior to 16 June 2016 will still need an import permit under the existing Quarantine Proclamation 1998

Additionally, from 16 June there will be changes to other import conditions as follows:

  • Veterinary therapeutics and medicines; additional biological materials will be added to the list of approved ingredients.
  • Cosmetics for animals (e.g. shampoos) will be subject to the same regulatory framework as that applied to veterinary medicines.
  • Mined fertiliser in bags of 100kg or less will require an import permit.

Importers should check the online Biosecurity Import Conditions system BICON regularly and register to receive alerts about any changes to import conditions for relevant goods.

Where BICON specifies an import permit for goods is required, permits must be obtained prior to the arrival of goods into Australia.

Import Services team: 1800 900 090, email Import Services Team

See the latest Import industry advice notices or Export industry and market access notices.