Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review

​The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), which commenced in 2012, is an agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments (except Tasmania) to strengthen the national biosecurity system. It defines the roles and responsibilities of governments and outlines the priority areas for collaboration to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on Australia’s economy, environment and community.

In late 2015, Australian Agriculture Ministers agreed to initiate a review of the national biosecurity system and the underpinning IGAB. On 31 March 2016, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, formally announced the commencement of the review and the independent panel undertaking the review.

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Final report

On 26 July 2017, Dr Wendy Craik, chair of the independent IGAB review panel, presented the final IGAB report Priorities for Australia’s biosecurity system to the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum.

Australian agriculture ministers subsequently released the report and issued a joint statement. Agriculture ministers have agreed to develop a national, intergovernmental response to the findings and recommendations of the report through the National Biosecurity Committee.

The report recognises the significant achievements of the IGAB and the strong and healthy working relationships between governments. It also highlights a number of new challenges for the system including a growing global population, increasing international trade and travel, loss of biodiversity, and ever-expanding urbanisation.

The report makes 42 recommendations aimed at strengthening Australia's biosecurity system over the next five to ten years.

The final report followed the release of a Draft Report in December 2016, a Discussion Paper in May 2016, and the Review Panel’s consultation across the country between May and August 2016.Further information on the review and the final report is available by contacting the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Independent panel

The review was conducted by a three-person independent panel, comprising: Dr Wendy Craik AM (chair), Mr David Palmer and Dr Richard Sheldrake AM.

The Review

The IGAB review considered and provided recommendations on the following terms of reference:

  1. The implementation and effectiveness of each section of the current agreement, progress against the priority reform areas outlined in schedules 2–8 and any requirements for revision of the schedules.
  2. The suitability of the agreement to underpin the national biosecurity system into the future.
  3. Current and likely future biosecurity risks and priorities, including the optimal allocation of resources and availability of required capability and capacity to address those risks and priorities, with particular consideration of risks that may impact Australia’s market access arrangements for agricultural products, and the use of innovation in the system.
  4. The development of a national statement of intent for the biosecurity system, encompassing the entire biosecurity continuum, including economic and market access, environmental and social considerations for governments, industry and the community.
  5. Defining roles and responsibilities of all parties in the national biosecurity system. This should include advice on how the concept of a shared biosecurity responsibility can be better understood and implemented across government, industry, environmental and community groups and individuals.
  6. The review of existing cost-sharing arrangements and the potential for implementation of new funding arrangements for all biosecurity activities. Consideration should be given to relevant National Biosecurity Committee projects including:
    • The National Framework for Cost Sharing Biosecurity Activities.
    • The national portfolio investment optimisation model.
    • The national stocktake of biosecurity investment.
  7. The development of measurable indicators to assess whether the national system is achieving its objectives, and to identify where adjustments are needed. Consideration should be given to the availability of appropriate and consistent data.