The National Biosecurity Committee met on 27 and 28 June 2018 in Adelaide, South Australia.
The meeting and workshop were an opportunity for the Committee to advance the national response to the 2017 independent review, Priorities for Australia’s biosecurity system, including progressing a number of its recommendations.
The Committee reviewed and streamlined its committee structure and arrangements to improve efficiency of decision-making and ensure all stakeholders are heard. The Committee also established the Biosecurity Research and Innovation Working Group Terms of Reference and finalised options for the new Industry and Community Reference Group, which was recommended by the review.
Stakeholder engagement continues to be a key focus of the Committee and progress on the development of a National Biosecurity Statement was noted. The statement is currently out for public consultation on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.
Improving our national response capabilities and traceability systems is critical to our ability to avoid the establishment and spread of pests and diseases and demonstrating our pest and disease freedom.
The Committee agreed a way forward on finalising the Aquatic Deed by the end of 2018. The deed will be an agreement between industry and governments for cost-sharing responses to emergency aquatic animal disease outbreaks.
Agreement was also reached on the next steps to improve national traceability, including consistency in rules, compliance and systems.
The Committee considered the lessons learnt from the last fruit fly season and agreed to progress a plan to strengthen Australia’s fruit fly systems.
The Committee endorsed national data sharing protocols. These will improve real time sharing of biosecurity information and data across the country.
The Committee was also briefed on:
- current and emerging biosecurity issues and responses across Australia
- the tomato potato psyllid response in Western Australia under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed
- the National Program for the Eradication of Red Imported Fire Ants in South-East Queensland
- the review of the response to the finding of exposure of cattle to Bluetongue virus.
The recently appointed Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, spoke to the Committee about her role. The Committee discussed how it could engage the Commissioner in environmental biosecurity and use her position to raise biosecurity awareness.
The Committee agreed that the next meeting would be held in Perth on 31 October – 1 November 2018.
For any questions regarding this communique, please email the NBC Secretariat at
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 Minister’s Forum on national biosecurity issues, and on progress in implementing the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity.
For further information on the National Biosecurity Committee, you can visit the Committee’s website, hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.