The National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) held its sixth strategic workshop on 5 November 2015 in Canberra. Representatives from Plant Health Australia, Animal Health Australia and the NBC sectoral committees (responsible for plant health, animal health, marine pests and invasive plants and animals) also participated in the workshop. The workshop was largely focused on activities underway to address the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) priority reform area of improved national decision making and investment (IGAB Schedule 2). The following issues were considered:
National biosecurity investment stocktake – report on 2014-15 data
The committee discussed the results of the 2014-15 national stocktake of biosecurity investment, which identified significant investments made by governments across a portfolio of biosecurity activities or 'investment categories'. The committee noted that there is potential to improve the allocation of resources across biosecurity investment categories to optimise the return on public investment.
National biosecurity investment strategy
The committee discussed a working draft of a national biosecurity investment strategy and agreed to further development of the strategy for consideration at the next NBC meeting. The intent of a national strategy is to guide investment such that the allocation of resources across a portfolio of biosecurity activities is optimised for the best return on investment.
New funding arrangements – Funding Model Steering Group report
The committee endorsed a National Framework for Cost Sharing of Biosecurity Programs, and considered a draft implementation plan prepared by a steering group with representation from all jurisdictions. The committee agreed that the steering group would continue to develop the implementation plan for consideration at the next NBC meeting in early 2016.
Transition to management and containment policy
The committee heard an update on the process of implementing transition to management policy in the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed, and discussed a range of issues relating to the development of a national policy framework for the long term containment of nationally significant pests and diseases.
Exotic weed incursions agreement
The committee endorsed a working draft of a policy framework for responses to incursions of nationally significant exotic production weeds for the purposes of consultation and engagement with industry stakeholders over the coming months.
Implementation of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources updated the committee on the implementation program for the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity Act 2015, which is scheduled to commence on 16 June 2016.