Biosecurity planning

The development of a biosecurity plan (BP) is an important step in improving preparedness for pest incursions. Biosecurity planning is undertaken at a national level through a partnership approach to identify the greatest biosecurity threats to Australia’s plant industries. Through this process risk mitigation activities are identified to improve biosecurity practices and preparedness. Biosecurity planning is an obligation under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) and BPs are generally reviewed every four to five years.
Biosecurity plans are not designed to be on-farm manuals. For more information on farm biosecurity, see farmbiosecurity.com.au

The biosecurity planning process

The first step in developing a BP is to identify the exotic pests (including insects, mites, molluscs (snail and slugs), pathogens (diseases) and nematodes) of the crop(s) produced commercially in Australia. The exotic pests are assessed by a Technical Expert Group for their potential to enter, establish and spread within Australia and their economic impact to the crop(s) covered in the BP. Those that pose the highest risk are considered to be High Priority Pests (HPPs).

For a list of HPPs see planthealthaustralia.com.au/industries and click on the relevant industry.

For more information on the risk assessments used in BPs see planthealthaustralia.com.au/risk-assessment.

The next step is to develop and agree upon effective biosecurity measures to protect against the identified the pests that pose the greatest risk to an industry. This involves the industry, governments, the relevant research and development corporation (RDC) and PHA working in partnership with each other. Agreed risk mitigation activities are aligned to overarching strategies in the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy under:

  • Capacity and Capability
  • Plant Biosecurity Education and Awareness
  • Preparedness and Response
  • Surveillance
  • Diagnostics
  • Established Pests and Weeds
  • Biosecurity Research, Development and Extension (RD&E)
  • Legislative and Regulatory Issues of Importance

Once the BP has been developed, it is endorsed at the national level through the relevant peak industry body (or bodies) and by each of the state and territory governments and the Commonwealth government through the Plant Health Committee.

Biosecurity implementation

Since 2017, a Biosecurity Reference Panel of government and industry experts has been appointed to assess the progress of implementing specific activities in individual plans. This ensures that activities are achieved by the end of each plan. Implementing the agreed actions provides a significant boost in protecting the industry from pest threats. Biosecurity plans undergo formal reviews every four to five years to ensure they remain up to date by taking into account new research, incursions overseas and changes to potential entry pathways.

For further information on Biosecurity Plans please contact [email protected]