Appendix 2: National biosecurity system
National biosecurity arrangements
The Australian Government's role in managing biosecurity has traditionally focussed on national pre-border and border biosecurity with a coordination and leadership role for achieving national biosecurity outcomes. States and Territories on the other hand managed the risks of the spread of invasive species across State borders, surveillance and response within State and Territory Borders and activities to support access to interstate and overseas markets.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) as the custodian of federal biosecurity services is now reforming how biosecurity services are delivered across the whole biosecurity continuum: off-shore, at the border and now also with a greater emphasis on on-shore interventions. Federal biosecurity is primarily managed under the Commonwealth Quarantine Act 1908 and related subordinate legislation. Since this Act was drafted over 100 years ago, Australia's biosecurity risks have changed significantly and therefore DAFF is proposing to introduce a new modern piece of legislation that is better at managing biosecurity risks. Visit the DAFF website at www.daff.gov.au for more information.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) is the Australian Government's central piece of environmental legislation for which the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) is the custodian. The EPBC Act provides a legal framework to protect and manage matters of national environmental significance. It also provides for the recognition of invasive species as threats to native animals and plants. Once a threatening process is listed under the EPBC Act a threat abatement plan can be put into place if it is shown to be 'a feasible, effective and efficient way' to abate the threatening process. For more information, visit the DSEWPaC website at www.environment.gov.au.
The Intergovernmental Agreement of Biosecurity (IGAB) is an important agreement to strengthen the working partnership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. It identifies the roles and responsibilities of governments and outlines priority areas for collaboration to minimise the impacts of pests and diseases on Australia's economy, environment and the community. For more information visit www.coag.gov.au. The National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement is the first deliverable of the IGAB and sets out arrangements for responding to biosecurity incidents that primarily affect the environment and/or social amenity and where the response is for the public good. For more information visit www.coag.gov.au.