Australian agriculture has a strong trade focus and relies on the biosecurity system to safeguard industry from the impact of exotic pests and diseases.
We undertake risk analyses to establish a balance between Australia’s international trade obligations, and protecting Australian agriculture from the biosecurity risks that may be posed by pests and diseases associated with goods being imported.
As part of strengthening biosecurity surveillance and analysis under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper (the White Paper), we trialled new initiatives to make the risk analysis process more efficient. The need to increase the efficiency of this process was identified as critical for us in order to continue to:
- facilitate two-way trade
- maintain positive international trade relations
- maintain Australia’s plant health status and biosecurity system.
The new initiatives explored innovative approaches and undertook trials to be able to reduce the number of outstanding market access requests in a timelier manner.
- A trial to conduct a risk analysis by grouping a number market access requests, for the same commodity in a geographical area. This type of risk analysis was trialled for fresh date fruit from the Middle East and North Africa region. This region is the main date producing region of the world. By conducting a risk analysis for a geographical region we anticipate that a risk analysis will not be required for any new market access requests for fresh dates from other countries in this region. This means we can free up resources to progress other priority market access requests.
- A study of the feasibility of conducting a risk analysis by grouping a number of market access requests, for the same commodity across the world. The feasibility study was conducted to determine the feasibility of grouping table grape market access requests from countries around the world. The feasibility study was completed in July 2018 and found that, under certain circumstances, conducting a risk analysis by grouping the same commodity from a number of countries around the world, is possible. However, the study also found that there are issues that need to be addressed when drawing on existing policy.
- A trial to conduct a pest risk analysis by grouping pests with similar biological characteristics across numerous import pathways. A grouped pest risk analysis approach makes the pest risk analysis process more effective and consistent.
- Dedicated resources to improve the communication around the import risk analysis process and engagement with government and industry stakeholders.
- Appointed a Principal Scientific Analyst to provide technical advice and consistency in our scientific policies and communication of import risk analysis reports.
A number of additional risk analyses were actively progressed under the White Paper: