Exercise Crown and Anchor


The National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT), a cohort of trained and experienced staff from across Australia with recognised skills in biosecurity emergency responses, tested their ability to effectively deliver biosecurity responses in Commonwealth places as part of Exercise Crown and Anchor, held in Canberra on 25–28 March 2019.

Commonwealth places are areas acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes, other than the seat of government (as in Canberra), such as airports and defence bases.

The exercise presented the participants with the fictional scenarios of a varroa mite detection in Jervis Bay Territory or a red imported fire ant detection on the grounds of Canberra International Airport. NBRT members, working with representatives from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the ACT Government and industry representatives, determined the appropriate response operations under each scenario.

Throughout the exercise participants conducted activities which would be undertaken in a Local Control Centre during an actual response to explore the complexities of working in Commonwealth places and the implementation of the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015 for a post-border biosecurity response.

In addition, participants visited relevant sites within the ACT to gain an appreciation for elements of the scenarios. This included Australian Government and ACT Government emergency operation centres, the grounds surrounding Canberra International Airport, and a demonstration of honey bee hive surveillance at Canberra City Farm.

Benefits from the exercise include an improved response capability for NBRT members and a contribution towards an agreed policy for responding to biosecurity incidents in Commonwealth places.

A report capturing the outcomes of the exercise will be produced in the coming months and made available to PHA members once it is released.