Ensuring a whole-of-department approach to the prioritisation of biosecurity risk and the setting of regulatory intervention levels

Project ID: 190808

Project Name: Ensuring a whole-of-department approach to the prioritisation of biosecurity risk and the setting of regulatory intervention levels

CEBRA Project Leader: Andrew Robinson

DAWE Project Sponsor: Emily Canning, First Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity Operations Division

DAWE Project Leader: Paul Nixon, Director, Biosecurity Operations Integration, Biosecurity Operations

The Department of Agriculture develops and implements policies and programs to ensure that Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable. An ability to effectively manage biosecurity risk, given the available operational workforce, is critical to the success of these activities. However, due to the increasingly complex and dynamic risk environment, the department faces substantial challenges when attempting to effectively prioritise and manage new and emerging biosecurity risks.

In conjunction with the relevant policy divisions, the Biosecurity Operations Division (BOD) is responsible for delivering inspection, assessment, audit, veterinary, quarantine, scientific and surveillance services, as well as community engagement and contact centre services. To ensure the optimal allocation of resources in real time, an improved prioritisation model that leverages the work previously undertaken by the department, including for Risk Return Resource Allocation, is required as the current arrangements are unsustainable and not sufficiently responsive in a dynamic risk environment.

This project comprises two key phases to assist in establishing a whole of business approach to biosecurity risk prioritisation and operational resource allocation. These are:

  1. The development of a list of defined ‘low-return’ biosecurity risk management activities currently delivered by BOD which may be reduced or stopped in the event of a greater priority activity. In addition to the development of a list of low return activities, the first phase will also identify potential data sources and options to establish a systematic approach to informing regulatory intervention levels, which would be delivered under a second phase, if approved.
  2. Scoping for the development of an evidence-based biosecurity risk activity prioritisation model and associated resourcing tool to assist BOD, and thus the department, in delivering a systematic and responsive approach to the prioritisation of its operational activity in the longer-term.

The proposed combination of activities is intended to enable BOD to more effectively and efficiently address its short-term need to reduce the demands on the regulatory workforce to within the available resource base, while simultaneously laying the foundations for (i.e., scoping the feasibility of) a more sophisticated resource allocation tool.

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