National Biosecurity Committee - Meeting 17 - Communique

The National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) met on 28 February 2014 and considered the following issues:

Future of NBC and implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity – report on strategic planning workshop

Members noted the outcomes of a strategic planning workshop held the previous day. The workshop focused primarily on current biosecurity governance and institutional arrangements; how priority work should be progressed under IGAB; funding of biosecurity activities; and management of responses which fall between or outside of the deeds.

Funding for the Long-term Containment Strategy for Exotic Fruit Flies in Torres Strait

Members agreed to seek agreement from the CEOs of Australian, state and territory primary industries agencies to fund the Strategy in 2014-15 to ensure that Australia is protected from an incursion of exotic fruit flies from the Torres Strait while review recommendations are implemented.

Update on implementation of the National Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) National Action Plan

Members noted that many of the actions identified in the National FMD Action Plan have been completed, with the remainder either ongoing or on track for completion. Members also noted that the National Livestock Standstill Exercise Program, known as Exercise Odysseus, is underway, with several Consultative Committee and National Management Group exercises scheduled for March 2014.

Update on national data standards and mechanisms for electronic data exchange

Members noted that good progress had been made on the development of national minimum data standards for emergency response and that next steps included developing an IT capability to facilitate greater information sharing in the event of a response.

Biosecurity arrangements and domestic market access

Members discussed current arrangements for resolving interstate trade disputes and agreed to consider whether amendments needed to be made. Members agreed to seek feedback from their jurisdictions and discuss the matter further at the next NBC meeting.

Members were also provided with updates on biosecurity inspection reforms at the border, the establishment of the new Plant and Animal Post Entry Qualification Facility, and the aquatic biosecurity intelligence gathering and analysis application (IBIS).