How well does Australia’s biosecurity agency manage environmental risks?

Feral Herald |

Australia’s Inspector-General of Biosecurity is reviewing the effectiveness of processes in the federal biosecurity agency for managing environmental biosecurity risks.

This was recommended by the 2015 Senate inquiry into environmental biosecurity (an inquiry advocated by the Invasive Species Council).

The Inspector-General has released a discussion paper to guide submissions. The closing date is 15 October 2018. Please make a submission if you can provide evidence or examples of the strengths or weaknesses of current environmental biosecurity processes.

One value of the discussion paper is its compilation of recommendations from recent reviews and the responses of the federal government to those recommendations. The paper outlines some substantial recent reforms achieved for environmental biosecurity (and by implication the value of a strong environmental non-government organisation advocate), including:

  • Appointment of a chief environmental biosecurity officer.
  • Establishment of an Environment and Invasives Committee to support the role of the role of the chief environmental biosecurity officer.
  • Development of a priority list for environmental pests of concern.

These should considerably improve Australia’s capacity to prevent and respond to environmental risks. However, we still have far to go to catch up to the preparedness status of biosecurity for agriculture and human health. The discussion paper does not provide any critique of current processes, suggesting it will be up to submitters to provide that.

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