This chapter provides a brief background in relation to environmental
biosecurity, including the legal and administrative framework relating to
invasive species that are likely to harm Australia's natural environment.
First, however, the chapter examines the definition of invasive species and
their impacts on Australia's environment.
As noted in Chapter 1, the focus of this report reflects the terms of
reference for this inquiry, which focus on environmental biosecurity—that
is, the protection of the environment from negative effects associated with
invasive species, as distinct from impacts on the economy, agriculture or human
What are invasive species and what are their impacts on the environment?
An 'invasive species' is a species occurring, as a result of human
activities, beyond its accepted normal distribution and which threatens
environmental, agricultural or other social resources by the damage it causes.
Invasive species include diseases, fungi and parasites; feral animals; insects
and other invertebrates; introduced marine pests; and weeds.
Invasive species are identified as one of the two key threats to
Australia's biodiversity (the other being habitat destruction).
The 2011 State of the Environment Report highlighted that invasive
...represent one of the most potent, persistent and widespread
threats to Australian biodiversity. They have both a direct negative impact on
species and communities through losses and extinctions, and an indirect impact
on ecosystems and biodiversity through ecological changes brought by those
losses and extinctions.
There are many well-established invasive species in Australia. However,
the terms of reference for this inquiry focus on recent accidental and
illegal incursions and potential new incursions, rather than on
established pests, weeds and diseases.
Legal and administrative framework
This section examines the legal and administrative framework relating to
the prevention and eradication of invasive species in Australia, including:
relevant international agreements;
Commonwealth arrangements for managing biosecurity risk and working
with states and territories;
the Commonwealth legislative framework, including the proposed new
biosecurity legislation and the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth); and
policies and strategies.
Australia's response to biosecurity issues is based on the requirements
of the World Trade Organisation Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). The SPS Agreement defines the
concept of an 'appropriate level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection'
(ALOP), that is:
...the level of protection deemed appropriate by a WTO member
establishing a sanitary or phytosanitary measure to protect human, animal or
plant life or health within its territory.
Australia's ALOP, agreed in 2002 with state and territory governments,
is expressed as 'providing a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary
protection aimed at reducing risk to a very low level, but not zero'.
There are also other international agreements relevant to the management
of invasive species. For example, article 8(h) of the Convention on
Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Convention) requires that the parties shall
'as far as possible and as appropriate, prevent the introduction of, control or
eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species'.
In 2010, the conference of the parties to the Biodiversity Convention adopted a
Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, which contains 20 targets
known as the 'Aichi Biodiversity Targets'. Target 9 is particularly relevant:
By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified
and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures
are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and
Commonwealth arrangements for
managing biosecurity risk
At the Commonwealth level, the Department of Agriculture has primary
responsibility for managing Australia's biosecurity system under the Quarantine
Act 1908 (Quarantine Act).
The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment explained
in their submission that:
The Department of Agriculture is the lead agency for
biosecurity, working offshore and at the border to manage risks to Australia's
environment and animal, plant and human health.
They further advised that:
The Department of the Environment works closely with the
Department of Agriculture on environmental biosecurity issues such as invasive
species policy and operational matters including risk assessment and management
of established invasive species.
The departments described the government's approach to managing
biosecurity as involving measures and activities to minimise the threat of
pests and diseases along a 'biosecurity continuum' – that is, offshore, at the
border and onshore (within Australia).
The Department of Agriculture has primary responsibility for offshore and
border biosecurity activities. Offshore activities are focused on minimising
the likelihood of exotic pests and diseases reaching Australia's border, and
...conducting risk assessments to consider the level of
biosecurity risk that may be associated with imports and identifying risk
management measures; conducting offshore verifications, inspections and audits;
collaborating with international partners on animal and plant health issues and
standards; regional capacity building through collaborative activities; and
intelligence and surveillance to determine and assess potential biosecurity
Border biosecurity activities are focused on:
...screening and inspection of international vessels,
passengers, cargo, mail, animals, plants, and plant products arriving in
Australia; managing the high biosecurity risks of live plants and animals
through containment, observation and/or treatment at quarantine facilities;
identifying and evaluating the specific biosecurity risks facing northern
Australia through the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy; and raising
awareness of travellers, importers and industry operators of Australia's
Activities within Australia are aimed at 'limiting the impact of a pest
or disease' once it is detected in Australia. These activities are 'delivered
in partnership' with state and territory governments, industry and other
stakeholders and include:
...developing policies and programmes to deliver biosecurity
outcomes in the national interest; coordinating national surveillance and
diagnostic capability to assess and monitor Australia's pest and disease
status; preparing for, and responding to exotic pest and disease incursions;
contributing to national biosecurity research; assisting landholders to manage
established pests and diseases; and working with biosecurity partners to build
a shared understanding of biosecurity.
Working with states and territories
As noted above, the Commonwealth Government partners with state and
territory governments 'that have primary responsibility for managing pests and
diseases within Australia'.
Under both the Constitution and the Quarantine Act, the Commonwealth Government
'is responsible for matters relating to the border, including development and
enforcement of quarantine', whereas states and territories 'have responsibility
for biosecurity and environmental matters within their respective borders,
which is underpinned by legislation to support delivery of these services.'
The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) is an
agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments (except
Tasmania) that came into effect in January 2012. The purpose of the agreement
is to 'enhance Australia's biosecurity system' and strengthen the collaborative
approach between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.
The committee discussed Tasmania's refusal to become a party to the IGAB
with officials from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks,
Water and Environment. Dr Robert Klumpp, General Manager, Biosecurity Tasmania,
stated that, although Tasmania agrees in large part with the provisions of the
IGAB and participates in the operation of its schedules, it did not sign
because it wished to maintain control over biosecurity regulations governing
imports from other parts of Australia. Dr Klumpp explained:
We have our own import requirements into the state. Those
import requirements are developed to manage the biosecurity status of Tasmania.
They sometimes result in conflicts with the other jurisdictions—the other
states—around what import requirements are placed upon produce coming into
Tasmania from other states. The IGAB attempted to resolve that issue by giving
the Commonwealth the power to resolve those disputes. The Tasmanian government
preferred to retain the ability to determine its own actions around biosecurity
for Tasmania. That is the only reason we did not sign up for the IGAB.
The Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association also expressed support for
the protection of regions within Australia that are comparatively free of pests
and diseases. They stated that this is important not only for environmental reasons,
but also for the industries that rely on operating in such regions:
A region such as Tasmania, separated from the Australian
mainland and relatively free of pests and diseases, is characterised by both
marine and terrestrial environmental values that are more vulnerable to the
consequences of incursions than other regions of Australia. However, it is
certain that there are many regions in Australia that similarly demonstrate
areas of pest and disease freedom. The protection of these regions must be
commensurate with the environmental values at risk.
National Biosecurity Committee
The National Biosecurity Committee was established in July 2008 and
comprises representatives from the Commonwealth, state and territory
governments (including the Commonwealth Department of the Environment). It is
responsible for managing a 'national strategic approach to emerging and ongoing
biosecurity policy issues'. This includes all biosecurity issues, including
environmental, animal and plant biosecurity issues. The National Biosecurity
Committee is also responsible for the implementation of the IGAB.
A number of committees report to the National Biosecurity Committee,
including the Animal Health Committee, the Invasive Pests Committee, the Marine
Pest Sectoral Committee and the Plant Health Committee. The departments of
agriculture and the environment advised that an 'environmental perspective [is]
provided by representation from the Department of the Environment on most
committees' as well as a requirement 'for each jurisdiction to bring a whole of
government position to the table inclusive of environmental biosecurity
The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage raised doubt as
to how effectively environmental perspectives are represented on the committee,
stating that New South Wales is 'one of the few jurisdictions to regularly send
an environmental representative to the National Biosecurity Committee'.
National Environmental Biosecurity
In January 2012, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments
signed the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA).
The purpose of this agreement is to establish national emergency response arrangements,
including for cost-sharing, for responding to biosecurity incidents such as pests
and diseases that primarily impact on the environment and/or social amenity and
where the response is for the public good.
The Commonwealth departments of agriculture and the environment explained that
the NEBRA was developed to:
...address the gaps which existed in relation to responses to
pests and diseases with primarily environmental and social amenity impact, for
example, weeds and marine pests. The recent incursion of red imported fire ant
in Yarwun, Queensland is the first eradication response to be managed under the
Proposed biosecurity legislation
The Commonwealth's quarantine laws are currently contained in the
Quarantine Act and associated subordinate legislation. However, the current
Minister for Agriculture plans to replace the Quarantine Act with new biosecurity
legislation. In accordance with this aim, he introduced the Biosecurity Bill
2014 and associated bills in the House of Representatives on 27 November 2014.
The Minister stated:
The Minster for Agriculture is responsible for plant and
animal quarantine and the Minster for Health is responsible for human
quarantine. Accordingly, the legislation is a collaboration between both
portfolios, and is jointly administered by them. This legislation will enable
the departments to continue to manage biosecurity risks in a modern and
The Biosecurity Bill 2012 was introduced into the Parliament in 2012 as
part of the response to the Nairn and Beale reviews, which are discussed
further below. The Biosecurity Bill 2012
was referred to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation
Committee. However, that committee did not report before the prorogation of the
parliament in 2013, at which time the legislation lapsed.
The provisions of the Biosecurity Bill 2014 and associated bills were referred
to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee,
which tabled its report on 17 March 2015.
The impact of the measures proposed in the Biosecurity Bill 2014 on
marine biosecurity is discussed further in chapter 6.
Interim Inspector-General of
The Commonwealth government agreed in 2008, as part of its response to
the Beale review, to establish a statutory office of the Inspector-General of
To establish this position the Inspector-General of Biosecurity Bill 2012 was
introduced alongside the Biosecurity Bill 2012. Both bills lapsed at the
conclusion of the 43rd Parliament, as discussed above.
However, on 1 July 2009, prior to the introduction of the enabling
biosecurity legislation, the government appointed an Interim Inspector-General
for Biosecurity (IIGB). The IIGB is appointed by, and reports directly, to the
Minister for Agriculture and is accountable to the Secretary of the Department
of Agriculture regarding matters of administration.
The IIGB is responsible for reporting to the Minister for Agriculture on
the 'performance of the biosecurity programs and risk management measures
across the biosecurity continuum for which the [Department of Agriculture] is
Although the role is focused on the biosecurity divisions within the Department
of Agriculture and on the Quarantine Act 1908, it also extends to the
'biosecurity measures related to human health and environmental
responsibilities that are undertaken by the department on behalf of the
Department of Health and the Department of the Environment'.
In order to carry out its audit and reporting functions, the IIGB is authorised
...consult stakeholders, including relevant Australian
Government Departments (Agriculture; Health; and the Environment), competent
authorities, companies and individuals involved across the biosecurity
continuum. Departments are required to provide reasonable access to documents,
staff and facilities to allow the IIGB to undertake the functions specified in
The Biosecurity Bill 2014 was not accompanied by separate legislation to
establish the Inspector-General of Biosecurity as an independent statutory
authority, as had been the case in 2012. Nevertheless, the government has
stated that it supports the role of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity and
intends that the position will continue. Furthermore, the Biosecurity Bill 2014
includes provisions that would establish information gathering powers intended for
the use of the Inspector-General.
Clauses 567 and 568 of the Biosecurity Bill 2014 provide review and
information gathering powers to the Minister for Agriculture, and clause 643
provides for the minister to delegate these powers to an appropriate person.
Although the position of Inspector-General of Biosecurity is not directly created
by the bill, it is envisaged that the Minister for Agriculture will appoint an
appropriate person to such a position and delegate to them the powers mentioned
above. The explanatory memorandum states:
The Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity undertakes
reviews of the biosecurity system. In bringing legislation forward, the
government decided to continue the current administrative arrangements in line
with the government‘s policy not to create an unnecessary statutory position.
The role of the Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity will remain and continue
to provide constructive recommendations to improve Australia‘s biosecurity
A notable feature of the powers of review provided under clause 567 of the
bill is that they are only intended to be exercised in general—that is, they
are not intended to be used to examine any specific decision made by a
particular official. The explanatory memorandum explains this feature of
To ensure that the scope of the review is focussed on the
effectiveness of the biosecurity system in general, the clause provides that a
review cannot be conducted into the single performance of a function, or a
single exercise of a power by a single biosecurity official. It is intended
that reviews will be general in nature and of the whole or specific parts of
the biosecurity system. The limitation that a review cannot be conducted into
the single performance of a function, or a single exercise of a power by a
single biosecurity official does not prevent the Minister requiring a person to
give information or documents under clause 568 about a single performance of a
function or single exercise of a power, as long as the review for which the
information or document was sought was of a more general nature. 
The status of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity under the Biosecurity
Bill 2014 was the subject of considerable criticism during the Senate Rural and
Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee inquiry. Submitters to
that inquiry suggested that the review framework contained under clauses 567
and 643 of the Biosecurity Bill 2014 did not guarantee an independent and
transparent review process and advocated that the Inspector-General be
established as an independent statutory position, as had been proposed under
the 2012 bill.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee did
not agree with the view that the bill would lead to a diminished role for the
Inspector-General of Biosecurity. It did, however, recommend that the findings
of reviews conducted under clause 567 of the bill be publicly released and
tabled in Parliament.
Both the Labor Senators' dissenting report and the Australian Greens'
additional comments appended to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
Legislation Committee's report include recommendations that the bill be amended,
or further legislation be introduced, to establish the Inspector-General of
Biosecurity as an independent statutory position.
Amendments to the Biosecurity Bill
The Biosecurity Bill 2014 and associated bills passed the House of
Representatives on 9 February 2015. At the time of preparing this report, the
Biosecurity Bill 2014 and associated bills were before the Senate.
Both the Government and the Opposition had circulated proposed
amendments to the Biosecurity Bill 2014 that would establish the
Inspector-General of Biosecurity as a statutory office. During the committee
stage, the Government's amendments were agreed to and the Opposition's
amendments were not proceeded with.
In foreshadowing that the Government would move amendments to establish
the Inspector-General of Biosecurity as a statutory office, the Parliamentary
Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck,
We made changes where we had recommendations that made sense
and it was reasonable to do so. This will be demonstrated by the introduction
of an amendment to establish a statutory Inspector-General of Biosecurity,
which we know is a concern for the opposition and for some of our stakeholders.
Senator Colbeck added that the regulations would address other matters
related to the Inspector-General's functions, including that the Inspector-General
is to set an annual review program in writing in consultation with the Director
of Biosecurity and the Minister.
EPBC Act—Key threatening processes
and threat abatement plans
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) also
contains provisions relevant to invasive species. For example, it provides for
the identification and listing of 'key threatening processes'. A threatening
process is defined as a process that threatens or may threaten the survival,
abundance or evolutionary development of a native species or ecological
Once a threatening process is listed under the EPBC Act, a threat
abatement plan can be put in place if it is shown to be 'a feasible, effective
and efficient way' to abate the threatening process. Threat abatement plans
provide for research, management, and other actions to reduce the impacts of a
listed key threatening process on native species and ecological communities.
As of September 2014, there were 21 listed key threatening processes and
14 approved threat abatement plans in place under the EPBC Act. The
majority of these listed key threatening processes and threat abatement plans involve
invasive species. For example, feral rabbits, foxes, cats, pigs, goats, rodents
on islands, red imported fire ants, cane toads, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and
chytrid fungus are all listed as key threatening processes.
In February 2013, 'novel biota' was listed under the EPBC Act as an
overarching key threatening process to capture all potentially invasive
species. A threat abatement plan has not been developed for this listing
as, 'it is considered that a threat abatement plan would not be the most
feasible, effective or efficient mechanism to manage such a broad threatening
process.' Rather, threat abatement guidelines have been developed for the novel
EPBC Act—international trade in 'wildlife'
The EPBC Act also regulates international trade in wildlife and wildlife
products, where 'wildlife' is defined as an animal or plant or a specimen
derived from a plant or animal.
For example, to be eligible to be imported under the EPBC Act, live plant and
animal specimens must be listed in a 'List of Specimens taken to be Suitable
for Live Import' (live import list).
The live import list consists of two parts:
Part 1 contains specimens that can be brought into Australia
without a permit from the Department of the Environment, and is taken to
include any live plant, which is introduced into Australia in accordance with
the Quarantine Act, provided the plant is not included in the list of Convention
on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
specimens under the EPBC Act;
Part 2 contains species that require a permit from the Department
of the Environment before being imported into Australia.
As such, under the EPBC Act, the Department of the Environment is responsible
for assessment of environmental risk (potential to become invasive) associated
with the import of live specimens. This is in addition to the Department of
Agriculture's responsibility under the Quarantine Act to assess the biosecurity
risk (potential to introduce pests and diseases) of imports. As such, the
import of live specimens such as live animals and plants, seeds and biological
control agents requires the agreement of both the Department of Agriculture
under the Quarantine Act and the Department of the Environment under the EPBC
However, the departments advised that, while both the Quarantine Act and
the EPBC Act require live specimens to be assessed for their potential impacts,
they 'have worked closely together to develop an integrated process for the
assessment of specimens'. They submitted that 'this reduces duplication and
streamlines the assessment processes, both for the Australian Government and
for the applicant (or potential importer)'.
Relevant entities: Plant Health Australia, Animal Health
Australia and Wildlife Health Australia
Plant Health Australia (PHA) and Animal Health Australia (AHA) are
not-for-profit public companies jointly established by government and industry.
PHA is the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for
plant biosecurity in Australia. Its goal is to work with Commonwealth and state
governments and industry representatives to promote strong biosecurity
practices that minimise plant pest impacts on Australia, enhance market access
and contribute to industry and community sustainability.
The goal of AHA is to facilitate improvements in Australia's animal
health policy and practice in partnership with the livestock industries,
governments and other stakeholders. AHA aims to build capacity to enhance
emergency animal disease preparedness; to ensure that Australia's livestock
health systems support productivity, competitive advantages and preferred
market access; and to contribute to the protection of human health, the
environment and recreational activities.
Wildlife Health Australia (WHA) is a not-for-profit incorporated
association and a registered charity. WHA continues the work of the Australian
Wildlife Health Network which was founded in 1999 in response to the emergence
of several wildlife diseases with the potential to harm humans—bat lyssavirus,
Hendra virus and foot and mouth disease.
This organisation currently has a five-year funding agreement with the Commonwealth
Government to 'support the Commonwealth, the states and the territories in
providing a general wildlife surveillance system for the country'.
WHA itself has only five staff, but it provides surveillance capacity by
working with 'a network of more than 600 wildlife health professionals, members
of the public and those with an interest in wildlife health including
representatives from federal, state and territory conservation, agriculture and
human health agencies and industries, universities, zoos, private
practitioners, wildlife carer groups, hunters and fishers, and diagnostic
Relevant Commonwealth strategies
Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, which was
endorsed by the then Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council in October
2010, also recognises the threat of invasive species to Australia's
biodiversity. The strategy sets a target to 'reduce by at least 10% the impacts
of invasive species on threatened species and ecological communities' by 2015.
Actions to control invasive species that have already entered the
country are also dealt with under the Australian Weeds Strategy and the Australian
Pest Animal Strategy.
The Weeds of National Significance (WONS) program falls under the overarching
Australian Weeds Strategy. Under the WONS program, 32 of Australia's worst
weeds in the agricultural, forestry and environment contexts have been
identified, and national strategies for the control of each weed have been
Both the Australian Pest Animal Strategy and the Australian Weeds
Strategy were the subject of an independent review in 2013. The Invasive Plants
and Animals Committee is revising and updating these strategies and intends to
release new versions in 2015.
The Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy was established in
1989 to provide an early warning system for exotic pest, weed and disease
detections across northern Australia and to help address unique biosecurity
risks facing the region.
The National Landcare Programme is also relevant to biosecurity
incursion management in that it has allocated funds to contribute to national
emergency response arrangements for pests and diseases under the NEBRA, as well
as the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and the Emergency Animal Disease
The program also contributed to the development of the pest animal and weed
strategies mentioned above.
Relevant reviews and reports
The departments of agriculture and the environment submitted that recent
reviews have found that 'Australia's biosecurity system operated well, but
could be improved'. The Department of Agriculture advised that it is
'continuing to strengthen Australia's biosecurity arrangements' 'in
collaboration with its biosecurity partners'.
A brief summary of some relevant recent reviews at the Commonwealth level in
relation to biosecurity and invasive species is set out below.
Senate Environment, Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts References Committee: Turning back the tide,
In 2004, this committee's predecessor, the Senate Environment,
Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee
considered the invasive species threat in detail in its report Turning back
invasive species challenge. That report made 27 recommendations for actions
and strategies to assist Australia in its efforts to combat invasive species.
The government response to that report in 2007 agreed with many, but not all,
of the report's recommendations.
Beale review, 2008
In 2008, Roger Beale AO, chaired an independent review of Australia's
quarantine and biosecurity arrangements: One biosecurity: a working
partnership (the Beale review), which was released on
19 December 2008.
The Beale review found that while Australia's 'biosecurity system has worked
well in the past, and is often the envy of other countries...the system is far
from perfect'. The Beale review identified a number of systemic deficiencies
and made 84 recommendations 'to rectify these problems while enhancing the good
aspects of the system'.
The Beale review recommended, among other matters, the replacement of the Quarantine
Act with new biosecurity legislation; the establishment of a 'National
Biosecurity Authority' as an independent statutory authority; the negotiation
of an intergovernmental agreement on biosecurity; an emphasis on shared
responsibility with business and the community; and additional resourcing for
As a result of the Beale review, a number of major reforms have been, or
are proposed to be, implemented with the intention of strengthening Australia's
biosecurity system. These include the IGAB and proposed new biosecurity
legislation (as mentioned earlier). According to the Department of Agriculture,
the reform program has also included implementing a risk‑based approach
to biosecurity management underpinned by sound evidence and policy; an emphasis
on managing biosecurity risk across the continuum (offshore, at the border and
onshore); and strengthening partnerships with stakeholders.
Hawke review of the EPBC Act, 2009
The independent review of the EPBC Act conducted by Dr Allan Hawke in
2009 also considered the issue of invasive species and biosecurity.
In relation to invasive species and other emerging threats, the report
- the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) develop criteria and management protocols for the movement
of potentially damaging exotic species between State and Territories, working
towards a list of 'controlled' species for which cost-effective risk-mitigation
measures may be implemented;
- the [EPBC] Act be amended to
require periodic preparation of mandatory 'outlook' reports that identify
emerging threats to the environment and provide policy options to address
emerging environmental issues; and
- the Australian Government
establish a Unit or Taskforce devoted to foresighting to identify and guide
management responses to emerging threats.
The government responded to the Hawke review in 2011 and agreed in part
to this recommendation. The response noted, for example, that section 301A of
the EPBC Act (which has not been used to date), provides for regulations to be
made in relation to non-native species that threaten or potentially threaten
Australia's biodiversity by importation into Australia or between states and
territories. The response also noted work on the then draft IGAB to address key
aspects of the national biosecurity system, including arrangements relating to
In terms of outlook reports, the government noted there are already existing
reporting processes to identify emerging threats to the environment, particularly
'state of the environment' reporting and the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report.
Senate Environment and
Communications References Committee threatened species report 2013
This committee conducted an inquiry in 2013 into the effectiveness of
protection of threatened species, which considered invasive species as one of
the key threats to threatened species. The committee noted evidence that
environmental biosecurity needs to be given greater priority across the
Australian mainland and the need to prioritise biosecurity measures on islands.
The committee made a number of recommendations relating to invasive species,
including that the Department of the Environment (or the Commonwealth
develop clear biosecurity strategies to protect island
sanctuaries (recommendation 15);
develop regulations under section 301A of the EPBC Act for the
regulation of controlled invasive plant species within Australia
develop research strategies (in conjunction with relevant
research institutions such as CSIRO and the Invasive Animals CRC) to develop
biological controls for feral cats and other high impact invasive species (recommendation
target more environmental research funding and programs towards
effective control methods for invasive species (recommendation 18); and
consider listing 'wildlife disease' as an overarching key
threatening process under the EPBC Act (recommendation 19).
The government recently responded to this report, and agreed with some,
but not all, of these recommendations.
Senate Rural and Regional Affairs
and Transport committees inquiries
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee
has undertaken numerous inquiries examining biosecurity and quarantine
arrangements, including the importation (or proposed importation) of specific
plant or animal products, or the management of incursions of particular pests
and diseases. While many have had a primary focus on the impacts on the
agricultural industry, some may be particularly relevant to this inquiry including,
for example, reports into:
science underpinning the inability to eradicate the Asian
Australia's biosecurity and quarantine arrangements (April
the future of beekeeping and pollination service industries in
Australia (July 2014).
The Biosecurity Bill 2012 was also referred to the Senate Rural and
Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee. The committee received
submissions and held public hearings, but did not report before the prorogation
of Parliament in 2013.
As noted above, the Biosecurity Bill 2014 was introduced in the House of
Representatives on 27 November and referred to the Senate Rural and Regional
Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee for inquiry and report on 17 March
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