Value of Australia’s biosecurity system

Project ID: 1607A
CEBRA Project Leader: Tom Kompas
DAWR Sponsor: Matthew Koval
DAWR Project Leader: Paul Pheloung
DAWR Division: Policy and Implementation
MPI Project Manager: N/A
Collaborators: Peter Gooday (ABARES), Alistar Davidson (ABARES), Ahmed Hafi (ABARES), Tony Arthur (ABARES), Kris Duthrie (DAWR), Christine Reed (NZ MPI)

Australia’s biosecurity system provides a substantial benefit to the Australian community by managing the risks of pests and diseases entering, establishing and spreading, causing harm to human, animal and plant health, the environment and the economy.

We know the system is inherently valuable but its value is difficult to quantify. This is because the system has a complex interplay of parts across supply chains, geographies, jurisdictions and stakeholders. Past attempts to value the biosecurity system have been based on ad hoc and qualitative statements of overall benefits or limited to specific cases, such as an estimate of the cost to Australia of an incursion of foot and mouth disease and other major invasive pests and diseases.

The current review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), additional biosecurity related investments arising from the Australian government White Papers on Agricultural Competitiveness and Developing Northern Australia, and the regulatory reform agenda would all benefit from an improved ability to describe the value of the biosecurity system. A clear and sound evaluation will effectively communicate the importance of the investments made in the system across regulatory requirements, operational activities, information management and research. The project will be a first step in being able to systematically identify and address current and future weaknesses across the breadth of the system.

The research will serve multiple purposes for the Department such as contributing to an assessment of the health of the biosecurity system including through annual reporting requirements; providing evidence and context in conversations with governments from all jurisdictions, industry and the community; and informing and contributing to an overall biosecurity strategy, IGAB and the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) reviews.

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