National Biosecurity Committee Meeting 22 and Strategic Workshop 8 – Communiqué

​13 - 14 July 2016

The National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) met from 13 - 14 July 2016 and considered the following issues:

Review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity

The committee discussed the progress of the review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity, including recent national consultation activities. The committee also considered the review panel’s comments and requests for information from jurisdictions to assist its deliberations.

National Biosecurity Statement of Intent

The committee discussed how development of a national statement of intent might strengthen the national biosecurity system. This proposal is being further examined as part of the independent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity.

National Biosecurity Committee 2016-17 work plan

The committee discussed its ongoing and emerging work priorities. The draft work plan aligns with priority reform areas under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity, as well as the committee’s broader terms of reference and will be further considered at the committee’s next meeting in October 2016.

National Biosecurity Investment Stocktake

The committee agreed to undertake the national biosecurity investment stocktake for 2015-16.

Traceability

Integrity of the National Livestock Identification System is vital to the operation of Australia’s livestock industries. Abiding by the rules by all producers is critical to ensuring effective operation of the system and the Commonwealth and states and territories’ ability to enable market access and trade.

Property Identification Codes (PICs) are the backbone of traceability. Without a consistent approach to PICs across jurisdictions our traceability is not as robust as it could be. The committee agreed that the Animal Health Committee and Plant Health Committee would work together to finalise the Property Identification Code (PICs) National Business Rules V0.3  to optimise national consistency and allow for greater integrity in the PIC allocation process at state and territory level.

Marine Pest Biosecurity

The committee noted the status of domestic ballast water regulation under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments 2004. The committee also noted the Marine Pest Sectoral Committee’s recent workshop to develop a National Marine Pest Biosecurity Strategy, and that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has commenced activities to implement recommendations of the Review of National Marine Pest Biosecurity.

Emergency Aquatic Animal Disease Arrangements

The committee considered progress to develop an aquatic animal disease emergency response agreement between industries and governments.  The committee discussed public and private benefits arising from aquatic disease responses; and how best to capture these in any future arrangement.

Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Taskforce

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Implementation Taskforce provided an update to the committee on the implementation of priority reform areas of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity including the NBC Roundtables. The committee noted the six priority reform areas are at different stages of implementation and are progressing well.

Plant Health Committee update

The committee endorsed the Plant Health Committee (PHC) 2016‑17 work plan. The chair of PHC provided an update on priority areas for PHC including trade and market access support, pest prioritisation, Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives and emergency response issues.

Animal Health Committee update

The committee endorsed the Animal Health Committee (AHC) 2016-17 work plan. The committee noted specific work to be undertaken by AHC against the NBC Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Framework tasking in the areas of Governance and Administrative Arrangements, National Decision-Making and Investment Framework and National Animal Health Surveillance and Diagnostic System.

Marine Pest Sectoral Committee update

The committee endorsed the Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (MPSC) 2016-17 work plan. The committee noted the key priorities to be undertaken by MPSC in 2016-17 include the development of the National Marine Pest Biosecurity Strategy and the development of the Australian Priority Marine Pests List.

Invasive Plants and Animals Committee update

The committee endorsed the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee (IPAC) 2016-17 work plan. The committee noted the key priorities to be undertaken by IPAC in 2016-17 include the risk assessment of illegal sales through e-commerce and approval of national release of new biological control viruses for rabbit and carp.

National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group

The committee endorsed the draft National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group 2016-17 work plan. The committee also noted the 2015-16 update provided by the National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group, including progress made with the National Minimum Dataset Specifications, a biosecurity data and information governance framework and progress of international standards for biosecurity data.

National Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Expert Group

The National Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Expert Group was established to enhance the national capability and capacity to mount an effective biosecurity response by improving and harmonizing national biosecurity emergency preparedness and response arrangements. The committee endorsed the expert group terms of reference, work plan for 2016-17 and the roadmap.


The National Biosecurity Committee is responsible for managing a national, strategic approach to biosecurity threats relating to plant and animal pests and diseases, marine and aquatic pests, and the impact of these on agricultural production, the environment, community wellbeing and social amenity. The committee provides advice to the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee and the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum on national biosecurity issues, and on progress in implementing the Intergovernmental Agreement on biosecurity.

For further information about the National Biosecurity Committee, you can visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.