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Work program

​​​​​​​Inspector-General of Biosecurity: Three-year review program 2016–17 to 2018–19 (updated January 2019)​


Background

The IGB took up duty on 25 July 2016 for a three-year term and developed a review program as required under the Biosecurity Act 2015. The Act specifies that the IGB may review the performance of functions, or exercise of powers, by biosecurity officials, including the Director of Biosecurity, who is the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (the department). This review program is over and above the internal audit and performance management programs of the department.

Consultations with senior departmental staff and key stakeholder organisations identified key strategic topics for review during the three-year term of the Inspector-General’s appointment. These were selected with the assumption that further topics might be identified; that the topics and scope might be modified as further consultation proceeds; and that further reviews might be required as external needs arise.

The indicative three-year program was presented to, and endorsed by, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and the Director of Biosecurity in September 2016.

The original plan was modified in February 2017 by the inclusion of an additional review on uncooked prawn imports which was completed in December 2017. This substantially delayed progress with the rest of the review program.

In February 2018, the original review plan was revisited in consultation with senior executives of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The program was further modified in July 2018 and January 2019 with inclusion of a couple of reviews at the request of the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources. A summary progress report and reprioritised plan is set out below.

A. Completed reviews

1. Invasive vector mosquito management—report published May 2017

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ management of biosecurity risks posed by invasive vector mosquitoes, especially Aedes spp., entering or establishing in Australia.

This review considered:

  • how the Department is responding to biosecurity risks/disease threats posed by invasive vector mosquitoes entering into Australia through various pathways especially via airports; and
  • how the Department coordinates its responses to these biosecurity risks with the Federal Department of Health, state/territory agencies and industry stakeholders.

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Invasive vector mosquito management—report PDF 70

3.2 MB

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2. Uncooked prawn imports—report published December 2017

A review of the circumstances leading to the 2017 suspension of uncooked prawn imports into Australia and the biosecurity considerations relevant to future trade in uncooked prawns.

The importation of uncooked prawns into Australia was suspended on 6 January 2017 following the outbreak of White Spot Disease in commercial prawn farms near the Logan River in December 2016. The review considered:

  • the effectiveness of biosecurity controls and their implementation for managing the biosecurity risks of importation of uncooked prawns and prawn meat into Australia;
  • the effectiveness of post-entry surveillance measures and 'end use' import conditions for uncooked prawns and prawn meat into Australia; and
  • areas for improvement in the biosecurity risk management framework and its implementation for future trade in prawns and related seafood.

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Uncooked prawn imports—report PDF 184

3.8 MB

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3. Hitchhikers and contaminants—report published July 2018

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ management of the risks posed by hitchhikers and contaminants associated with cargo containers, transport methods and conveyances (for example, vessels and aircraft).

This review covered:

  • the adequacy of departmental processes to manage current risks and identify and respond to emerging risks associated with:
    • arriving sea vessels (commercial and non-commercial)
    • sea containers (excluding cargo carried)
    • general or break-bulk cargo and bulk cargo ship holds
    • arriving aircraft and air cargo containers, and
  • major hitchhiker pest and contamination risks to Australia.

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Hitchhikers and contaminants—report PDF 88

3.8 MB

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4. Military biosecurity—report published July 2018

A review of the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ management of biosecurity risks posed by returning Australian forces after offshore deployment and foreign defence forces engaged in military activities in Australian territories.

This review considered:

  • the mechanisms and support provided by the department to the Australian Department of Defence and overseas military organisations and how this contributes to achieving a commitment to biosecurity principles by Australian and foreign defence organisations, and
  • the adequacy and practicality of the biosecurity risk management measures and the mechanisms to ensure compliance with their implementation by defence organisations.

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Military biosecurity—report PDF 45

1.5 MB

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5. Horse importation—report published September 2018

Implementation of previous IIGB review recommendations and current horse importation biosecurity risk management practices.

This review considered:

  • how the department had implemented Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity (IIGB) recommendations to strengthen horse importation biosecurity, and
  • the department’s biosecurity risk management activities for horses imported between January 2016 and December 2017.

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Horse importation—report PDF 36

1.0 MB

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6. Implementation of previous IIGB review recommendations—report published September 2018

Previous Interim Inspectors-General conducted 33 reviews or audits of various aspects of biosecurity risk management between 2009 and 2016.

This review considered how the department ensures that recommendations arising from these reviews, other than those on horse importation (covered in a separate review), have been properly considered and implemented and that wider lessons from selected reviews inform ongoing reform of Australia’s biosecurity system.

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Previous IIGB recommendations—report PDF 18

1.5 MB

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7. Environmental biosecurity—report published April 2019

Environmental biosecurity risk management in Australia.

This review, recommended by the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee report on Environmental Biosecurity (May 2015), examined:

  • how the department participates in the broader biosecurity system to address environmental biosecurity concerns, and
  • processes to identify gaps in pathway and risk analyses and to improve information gathering and sharing between jurisdictions, in relation to environmental biosecurity.

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Environmental biosecurity—report PDF 99

1.9 MB

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8. Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)—report published May 2019

Effectiveness of biosecurity measures to manage the risks of brown marmorated stink bugs entering Australia.

This review examined:

  • the effectiveness of measures used by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) to manage the risks of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) entering Australia,
  • the department’s engagement and consultation with industry in managing the risks, and
  • what if any improvements should be made to the current arrangements.

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Brown marmorated stink bug—report PDF 106

2.6 MB

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9. Interceptions and incursions—report published May 2019

Pest and disease interceptions and incursions in Australia.

This review identified features and insights that are shared across multiple interceptions and incursions, such as:

  • the contributing factors to successful pre-border and border interceptions, and incursion prevention,
  • the department’s mechanisms to manage and share information on interceptions with other public and private bodies responsible for biosecurity, especially State and Territory agencies, and
  • lessons learnt and system improvements already made or needed in response to interceptions, barrier breaches and incursions.

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Pest and disease interceptions and incursions—report PDF 78

1.9 MB

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B. Reviews underway at June 2019

10. Approved Arrangements

An assessment of the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ system of Approved Arrangements under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

This review will consider:

  • the department’s processes for recognition of Approved Arrangements within Australia as a biosecurity risk management mechanism;
  • the ability of industry to manage biosecurity risks associated with imported, high-risk goods that are stored, inspected and/or treated at Approved Arrangement sites; and
  • what, if any, improvements should be made in the current arrangements.

11. Pre-border certification

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ recognition of pre-border certification (including the role of overseas competent authorities) as a biosecurity risk mitigation measure.

This review will use case studies on high-risk goods (such as horticultural produce and seafood) to consider:

  • the department’s reliance on overseas certifying bodies/authorities and recognition of offshore third-party quality assurance systems;
  • how certification is used by the department in its risk assessment and decision making at the border;
  • the issue of fraudulent certificates impacting the department’s efforts to manage biosecurity; and
  • how the level of certification aligns with international trade facilitation and Australian government’s obligations.

12. Implementation of IGB review recommendations

The current Inspector-General conducted four reviews of various aspects of biosecurity risk management between July 2016 and July 2018.

This review will consider how has the department considered and implemented recommendations arising from these reviews and that wider lessons from these reviews inform ongoing reform of Australia’s biosecurity system.

C. Reviews deferred beyond the current IGB term

13. End-use conditions

A review of the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ use of ‘end use’ import conditions for high-risk goods in managing identified risks.

This review will consider:

  • the decision-making processes that determine if end-use requirements are to apply;
  • whether end use import conditions such as ‘for human consumption only’ or ‘for in vitro use only’ are effectively managing the relevant biosecurity risks;
  • biosecurity risks associated with deliberate diversion of goods to other higher risk end use(s); and
  • the enforceability of and mechanisms for ensuring compliance with specific end use provisions.

14. Complexity of supply chains

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ management of biosecurity risks posed by imported goods produced from materials originating from multiple sources via complex supply chains. The review may consider traceability of material through the supply chain and the consequential integrity of the finished product(s).

This review will consider how the department:

  • is responding to the increasing complexity of manufactured products and the associated supply chains. This includes how the department achieves confidence about the biosecurity risks that may be present in the product and how these risks are being addressed by the manufacturer and in their underlying supply chain; and
  • recognises the contribution of quality assurance programs to biosecurity risk management.

15. Scientific capability

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ role in enhancing national animal and plant biosecurity scientific capability across production and environmental areas, including:

  • availability of skills and expertise now and into the future;
  • determining the opportunity for supporting the improvement of national testing capability, including use of advanced detection technologies (where available) for quicker detection and responses; and
  • participation in and contribution to domestic and international scientific networks.

This review will consider:

  • how the department can contribute to ensuring that Australia will have access to suitable diagnostic capability to meet its animal and plant biosecurity needs; and
  • current and emerging challenges, as well as potential responses to these challenges.

16. Global trade and biosecurity

A review of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ response to changing global trade patterns and their impact on biosecurity risks.

This review will address how the department is planning for and positioning itself to respond to emerging changes in international trade and the increasing pace of pests and diseases being transferred to new locations.

  • the emergence of new supply markets and changing international supply arrangements between trading partners and how they change the pathways that represent high biosecurity risks for goods; and
  • the global movements of pests and diseases into new locations.

​Last updated: 11 June 2019​​​​​