National Biosecurity Committee Meeting 21 and Strategic Workshop 7

The National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) met from 20 - 21 April 2016 and considered the following issues:

Review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity

The committee noted the progress of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review, including public consultation throughout April and May 2016.

Biological Control Programmes

The committee noted progress in the amendment of national biological control legislation, including the recent passage of amendments to the Commonwealth Biological Control Act 1984, to support the declaration of viruses as agent and target organisms. The committee also discussed planning and regulatory approvals for the proposed national release of a new strain of rabbit calicivirus, and the possible release of a carp-specific herpesvirus for the biological control of carp.

Biosecurity Communication during a Biosecurity Incident

The committee considered a communication approach paper put forward by the Biosecurity Incident National Communication Network (NCN) for activities to support broader biosecurity awareness in the community. The committee also noted the progress of NCN’s Foot and Mouth Disease preparedness work, and their continuing engagement with plant and livestock industry groups.

National Emergency Response Training and Qualification Requirements

The committee reconfirmed their commitment to implementing a standard, national suite of biosecurity response training and assessment materials accessible to all jurisdictions. To support the implementation of the full suite of biosecurity response qualifications and decrease the burden on jurisdictions, members supported a proposal to fund additional subject matter experts over the life of the project.

Criteria and Responsibilities of Efficiency Advocates for Response

The committee agreed to undertake further work to consider options to improve the effectiveness and reduce the cost of efficiency advocates/audits for emergency responses.

Implementation of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015

The committee noted progress on the implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2015 which is due to commence on 16 June 2016.

Tramp Ants

The committee discussed national approaches to improving preparedness and response activities to manage the threat of tramp ants and agreed that the Australian Government lead the development of a national tramp ant plan.

Emergency Aquatic Animal Disease Arrangements

The committee reconfirmed their commitment to the development of formal industry-government emergency aquatic animal disease response arrangements to improve the management of aquatic animal health and assist in filling the current gap in emergency response arrangements.

Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Taskforce

The IGAB Implementation Taskforce updated the committee on progress in the implementation of priority reform areas of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity.

Plant Health Committee update

The Chair of Plant Health Committee provided an update on priority areas of work of Plant Health Committee including interstate trade reforms, information and data sharing and Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiatives.

Animal Health Committee update

The committee noted the progress being made by the Animal Health Committee (AHC) on its 2015-2016 work plan. It noted specific work undertaken by AHC against the NBC Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Framework 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 noted the update on Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (MPSC) activities. The committee also noted that the Review of National Marine Pest Biosecurity was recently finalised, and may result in changes to MPSC work plan.

Invasive Plants and Animals Committee update

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

National Biosecurity Information Governance Expert Group

The committee noted the 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 consideration of international standards for biosecurity data.

National Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Expert Group

The committee noted the Expert Group achievements over the past twelve months and is looking forward to receiving the Expert Groups updated work plan and national biosecurity roadmap to achieve the Strategic Position for Emergency Preparedness in July 2016.