Rural affairs - Biosecurity funding

Budget Review 2010-11 Index

Budget 2010–11: Rural affairs

Biosecurity funding

Peter Hicks

Several biosecurity measures were announced in the 2010–11 Budget including two which involve revenue raising, plus funding for further measures being implemented as a result of the Beale Review (the Review) of biosecurity and quarantine released by the Government in December 2008.[1]

Biosecurity reform measures

The Budget allocates $20 million over the next four years to be used for the development of a risk-based approach to biosecurity operations, and the enhancement of data collection and analysis capabilities within the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). Funds for this measure will come from an increase in the level of cost recovery from Australia Post for the quarantine clearance of incoming mail.[2]

The 2010–11 Budget also provides $61.3 million over two years to maintain core quarantine border protection activities and to commence work on initial elements of biosecurity reform as recommended in the Review. This funding will also enable continuation of other outcomes of the Review, namely:

  • the Office of the Interim Inspector General of Biosecurity who reports directly to the Minister and was appointed on 1 July 2009 to conduct independent systems audits of Australia’s biosecurity systems. The interim arrangements will continue until new legislation is in place and the statutory position is established[3]
  • the expanded Eminent Scientists Group, which independently reviews major Import Risk Analyses, now includes an economist and has had its terms of reference broadened to include that ‘all relevant matters relating to the likely economic consequences of a pest or disease incursion have been properly considered’ and
  • the Biosecurity Advisory Council appointed in December to replace the Quarantine and Exports Advisory Council.[4]

Within the budgeted $61.3 million there is $3.9 million for the development of the project concept for future arrangements for post-entry quarantine facilities. This amount will be recovered from relevant industry sectors under existing cost recovery arrangements.

Export certification

This Budget also provides further funding of $88 million for changes to export certification arrangements and follows initial funding of $39 million announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) 2009–10. This measure has its origins in the Review’s recommendation that the 40 per cent rebate on AQIS fees and charges be discontinued when it reached its scheduled expiry on 30 June 2009. The rebate had been in operation since 2001. The Government accepted this recommendation and sought to revert to full cost recovery of AQIS fees and charges effective from 1 July 2009. However the proposal was defeated in the Senate in September 2009.

In November 2009, the Government announced an agreement with non-Government parties to facilitate Senate passage of a $127.4 million Export Certification Reform Package (ECRP).[5] ECRP provides for a return to full cost recovery of AQIS fees and charges; fee rebates to assist exporters transition to full cost recovery by 30 June 2011; reforms of the regulatory and supply chain and reform of the meat inspection system. New export fees and charges returning industry to full cost recovery commenced in December 2009.

Taskforces for each export sector (dairy, fish, grain, horticulture, live animals and meat) were established in April 2009 to explore delivery arrangements for AQIS export certification and inspection services in line with recommendations of the Review and to promote efficiencies and to improve productivity. These taskforces are at varying stages of developing and implementing their respective reform agendas.[6]

[1].    R Beale, D Trebeck, A Inglis, and J Fairbrother, One biosecurity: a working partnership, Report of the independent review of Australia’s quarantine and biosecurity arrangements to the Australian Government, Canberra, 2008, viewed 17 May 2010

[2].    Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2010–11, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, p. 90, viewed 17 May 2010,

[3].    Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), ‘Frequently asked questions – Review of Australia’s Quarantine and Biosecurity Arrangements’, DAFF website, viewed 19 May 2010,

       A Burke (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry), Progress continues on reforms to strengthen Australia's biosecurity, media release, 23 September 2009, viewed 18 May 2010

[4].    A Burke (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry), New council to help protect Australia's biosecurity, media release, 21 December 2009, viewed 18 May 2010

[5].    A Burke (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry), Export industry reforms back on track, media release, 24 November 2009, viewed 18 May 2010

[6].    Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), ‘Export Certification Reform Package’, DAFF website, viewed 19 May 2010,