Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System Program

Trust, confidence and assurance in Victoria’s food and fibre. Protecting people and jobs.

A strong biosecurity system supports Victoria's health, prosperity and way of life.

It underpins jobs and economic growth across Victoria. It supports trade and market access, and it protects our public health and unique environment.

But pressure on this system is increasing. More people and goods are moving, more often. Community expectations are shifting. Plus, changes in climate, land use and industry practices are placing growing demands on the system.

Industry, community and government need to work together to strengthen Victoria's biosecurity system.

In 2019, the Victorian Government made a significant investment in biosecurity. It will strengthen the protections in place and help us be better prepared for the future. It aims to transform how we deliver biosecurity services.

Our freedom from diseases and pests hinge on decisions made every day. A strong biosecurity system ensures:

  • clean and safe food, which meets trade and export standards
  • the ethical treatment of animals
  • protection from the spread of weeds, diseases and pests across the landscape.

The Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System Program is working with government, industry and community. Together we can ensure the continued strong performance of Victoria’s biosecurity system.

The Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System (SVBS) Program is focussed on:

  1. A shared vision for biosecurity
  2. Legislative reform
  3. More effective and efficient delivery of biosecurity services by Agriculture Victoria.

Industry, community and government perspectives

This program seeks to understand the knowledge and experience of people from across industry, community and government. Their insights will inform how we can work together and improve biosecurity to meet future challenges.

In 2020–21, we captured diverse perspectives and expertise across Victoria through:

  • a survey
  • one-on-one interviews
  • a workshop.

Feedback from these activities is informing how we can better work together in the future. In 2022, we established a Biosecurity Reference Group ensuring industry and community views continue to shape the future of biosecurity in Victoria. Further activities in 2022 include the development of a Biosecurity Statement and a Biosecurity Roundtable leading to the development of a Biosecurity Strategy in the latter part of the year.

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Farmers, businesses, industry groups and community members were invited to provide their views on biosecurity.

Wallis Market and Social Research Group (Wallis) delivered the survey on behalf of Agriculture Victoria by mail, phone, email and online.

The survey opened from 26 November 2020 for postal surveys. From 13 January to 11 February 2021 an electronic survey was distributed online and by email. The survey is now closed.


Wallis survey report, Victoria's Biosecurity System (PDF - 2.8 MB)

Wallis survey report, Victoria's Biosecurity System (WORD - 2.0 MB)

A series of 115 one-on-one interviews with people from across industry, community and government were conducted by RM Consulting Group on behalf of Agriculture Victoria.

Interviewees were asked about their experiences and knowledge of biosecurity in Victoria.


RM Consulting Group interview report (PDF - 4.8 MB)

RM Consulting Group interview report (WORD - 2.1 MB)

The Shaping Victoria’s Biosecurity Future workshop was held on 17 and 18 June 2021. It brought together experts from industry, community and government to identify opportunities to strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity system.

The workshop program was built around the findings from the survey and interviews which were summarised in the workshop framing paper. The framing paper was provided to participants as pre-reading.

The ‘What was said’ Report shares insights from the conversations held during the workshop.


Victoria’s Biosecurity Reference Group

Thirteen community and industry representatives have been appointed to the Biosecurity Reference Group (BRG) to help guide Victoria’s work to strengthen the biosecurity system.

Members will provide feedback and input on potential biosecurity investments, reform and strategy development. The BRG will partner with us to help set our strategic direction, to ensure we adapt, change and innovate to meet future challenges affecting biosecurity. Discover more about the Biosecurity Reference Group.

Co-designing a Biosecurity Statement

Agriculture Victoria is co-developing a Biosecurity Statement with our stakeholders.

The co-design approach is providing people involved in biosecurity in a wide range of sectors and roles with the opportunity to have their say.

Discover more about the Biosecurity Statement for Victoria.

Effective and efficient delivery of biosecurity services

Is Agriculture Victoria ready to meet the growing demands in biosecurity? The Regulatory Capability Assessment takes a closer look. The assessment outlines recommendations for building capability and capacity within Agriculture Victoria.



Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB)

Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) is an agreement between all Australian governments, setting out goals, roles, responsibilities and governance arrangements.

Victorian Biosecurity Roundtable Report

The 2019 Victorian Biosecurity Roundtable started the discussion about the future of biosecurity. The conversations began to define biosecurity, explore the role of regulation, and start to develop a shared understanding of the system.


Shaping Victoria's Biosecurity Future video

Listen to Matt Lowe, Chief Executive of Agriculture Victoria and Katherine Clift, Executive Director of Biosecurity Services explain Agriculture Victoria’s approach to strengthening Victoria’s biosecurity system.

[Title card reads] Shaping Victoria’s Biosecurity System

[Upbeat acoustic guitar music plays. The Agriculture Victorian logo appears alongside Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System logo]

[Katherine Clift, Executive Director Biosecurity Services, Agriculture Victoria is speaking. Katherine is seated. There is an Agriculture Victoria banner behind her and an outlook through the window to some trees.]

Biosecurity is all about reducing the harm to our communities, environment and economy that can be caused by the impact of pests and diseases.

The biosecurity system involves all of the measures that we undertake to manage the risks of these pests and diseases.

That could be having effective surveillance programs in place, really good preparedness; it could be effective reporting when you see a pest or disease that is unexpected; it also includes all of the people who participate in the system: farmers, community groups, representative organisations, scientists; so a really wide range of people from across every sector of society

Pests and disease outbreaks can be absolutely devastating to Victoria and we've had recent examples of that last year Victoria experienced the largest outbreak of avian influenza seen in Australia which had an absolutely devastating impact on our poultry sector we're also currently responding to a new detection of abalone disease and the last time this was detected back in 2005 the impact was absolutely devastating on our abalone industry and they're still recovering to this day from that event back in 2005.

We know that the risks of new pests and disease is rising that's a combination of a number of different factors the increasing complexities of international trade and travel … we also have the climate variability and change which is making our environment more suitable for some pests and diseases and also increasing their range overseas so there's much more opportunity for these pests and diseases to spread both overseas and in Australia.

[Matt Lowe, Chief Executive, Agriculture Victoria is speaking. Matt is seated. There is an Agriculture Banner behind him and an outlook through the window to some trees.]

Victoria is an agricultural powerhouse.

Our agricultural production in Victoria is worth nearly 16 billion and food and fibre exports are worth more than 14 billion … having a strong biosecurity system ensures that … we can minimize the harm caused by pests and diseases

Australia more broadly has an enviable biosecurity status … with freedom from many pests and Diseases… And this … ensures we have a strong reputation globally for quality produce.

With the tempo and intensity of biosecurity threats increasing it's more important than ever for Victoria to have a strong biosecurity system.

We're bringing together industry community and government to develop a shared vision for biosecurity in Victoria. The idea is that together we can look at the opportunities to strengthen the system and also identify how we can work together to achieve these improvements.

[Katherine Clift, Executive Director Biosecurity Services, Agriculture Victoria is speaking.]

We know that we cannot manage these challenges on our own we need to be able to hear … all the different perspectives from across Victoria to be able to identify how we can really solve these challenges now and into the future.

[Words displayed on screen]

Join the conversation

[Agriculture Victoria and Strengthening Victoria’s Biosecurity System logos also displayed]

[End card reads:]

Agriculture Victoria

Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne


Page last updated: 19 May 2022