Biosecurity emergencies

Victoria is facing an increasing risk of exotic animal or plant disease outbreaks or pest incursions. Key drivers of risk include the increased movement of people, goods and vessels into Victoria, climate change, criminal activities such as international smuggling and changes to land use and industry practices. These factors are causing significant increases in the size, scale, complexity and frequency of biosecurity threats.

The consequences of a biosecurity emergency can be significant. These include the economic impacts associated with eradicating a pest or disease, loss of access to national and international markets, impacts on agricultural productivity, jobs and employment, communities and natural environments.

SEMP Animal, Plant, Marine and Environmental Biosecurity Sub-Plan

The State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) outlines the emergency management arrangements for Victoria to inform all levels of planning – state, regional and municipal. The SEMP provides a coordinated and comprehensive approach to emergency management at the state level, containing provisions for the mitigation of, response to and recovery from emergencies and specifies the roles and responsibilities of agencies in relation to emergency management.

The SEMP identifies the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions as the Control Agency in Victoria for biosecurity incidents covering:

  • emergency animal diseases (including aquaculture)
  • emergency plant pests or diseases (including bees)
  • marine pests
  • vertebrate pests.

As the Control Agency for biosecurity emergencies in Victoria, DJPR has recently developed a new SEMP Animal, Plant, Marine and Environmental Biosecurity Sub-Plan (‘the ‘Plan’).

The Plan details more complex and specific arrangements for managing a response to a biosecurity risk that are not detailed in the SEMP.

The Plan provides an overview of the current arrangements for the management of biosecurity emergencies (excluding human health emergencies) in Victoria. The Plan reflects an integrated approach and shared responsibility for biosecurity management between government, agencies, industries, businesses and the community.

A national biosecurity framework outlines control and command arrangements for biosecurity emergencies in Victoria. These arrangements are different to the arrangements for fire, flood and storm responses in Victoria in recognition of the national and international consequences of biosecurity emergencies.

Read the Plan

The new Plan is housed on the Emergency Management Victoria website and can be accessed at:

SEMP Animal, Plant, Marine and Environmental Biosecurity Sub-Plan

For further information regarding the Plan, or to discuss the biosecurity response framework, please contact the DJPR State Agency Commander for Agriculture at sccvic.scmdr.ag@scc.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 25 Feb 2022