National Biosecurity Committee – Meeting 20 – Communiqué

The National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) met on 13 August 2015 and considered the following issues:

National Biosecurity Committee 2015-16 work plan

The committee discussed its ongoing and emerging work priorities and considered a high level work plan for 2015-16. The NBC work plan aligns with priority reform areas under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), as well as the committee's broader terms of reference.

Agriculture Senior Officials Committee strategic framework

The committee discussed the ongoing development of a framework for reporting on the national biosecurity system, which will be provided to the October 2015 meeting of the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee.

Commonwealth biosecurity legislation implementation

The committee noted the update on the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 and discussed how jurisdictions will work together to manage the risk of unintended consequences during the transition to the new Commonwealth legislation. The Department of Agriculture also began consultation with the committee on the draft regulations.

Interstate certification agreements

The committee noted the complexities of the interstate trade system for plants and plant products. It was agreed that the Plant Health Committee would develop further advice to NBC on how to progress priority reforms in this area.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) preparedness

The committee noted the report from Animal Health Committee on FMD preparedness. It was noted that progress continues to be made on outstanding issues. It was also noted that some jurisdictions were continuing dedicated FMD preparedness programs and that the outputs of these programs will be shared at the national level to contribute to enhancement of national FMD preparedness.

Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Implementation Taskforce

The IGAB Implementation Taskforce, formed in March 2015 to drive implementation of priority reforms under the IGAB, updated the committee on progress against reform activities. Implementation of these activities is largely the responsibility of NBC sectoral committees, two newly established expert groups and the IGAB Project Manager. There was some discussion around a process for regular reporting on IGAB implementation, which will be developed out of session.

National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group

The committee noted the commencement of the National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group. The group will meet face to face later in 2015 to develop an agreed work plan, which will focus on implementing priority reform activities under the IGAB. 

National Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Expert Group

The committee noted the commencement of the National Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Expert Group and endorsed the expert group’s terms of reference and 2015-16 work plan. During 2015-16 the expert group will focus on emergency preparedness resourcing, training and evaluation.

Animal Health Committee update

The NBC noted the progress being made by AHC on its 2015-2016 workplan. It also noted specific work undertaken by AHC against IGAB priority reform areas of national animal health surveillance and diagnostics and established animal diseases of national significance and animal health communications and engagement strategy.

Plant Health Committee update

The Chair of Plant Health Committee provided an update on progress in implementing the IGAB in the plant sector, including the national framework for management of established pests and diseases of national significance, and development of a communication and engagement strategy.

Marine Pest Sectoral Committee update

The committee noted the update on Marine Pest Sectoral Committee activities, including progress against the 2015-16 work plan and implementation of priority IGAB reforms.

Invasive Plants and Animals Committee update

The committee noted the update on the activities of the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee.

Landuse mapping for improved biosecurity outcomes

The committee noted the contribution that catchment scale land use mapping can make to improving spatial data for biosecurity risk management, the proposals to update mapping of intensive animal husbandry and horticulture land uses, and the contribution that location information from state/territory biosecurity databases could make to this mapping.​