National review to improve biosecurity

A major review is underway to ensure the national agreement on biosecurity management between states and territories in Australia is effective well into the future.

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) is an agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments (except Tasmania) to strengthen the biosecurity system. It defines the roles and responsibilities of governments and outlines the priority areas for collaboration to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on Australia’s economy, environment and community.

Vinehealth Australia has submitted feedback on recommendations proposed in the review panel’s draft report, on behalf of South Australian vineyard owners, and to the benefit of the wine industry nationally.

In its submission, Vinehealth commended the work of the panel in facilitating a much-needed discussion on the national biosecurity system.

“Vinehealth strongly advocated for the wine industry to be actively involved at all levels across the biosecurity system,” said Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Pearce. “We discussed how biosecurity in the wine industry relates to market access.

“We covered the active surveillance undertaken in SA for phylloxera and the requirement for a review of the National Phylloxera Management Protocols.

“We explored the benefits of developing a maturity rating for each industry with respect to its biosecurity practices. And we discussed the requirement for a robust biosecurity IT platform to manage all aspects of biosecurity.”

In late 2015, Australian Agriculture Ministers agreed to initiate a review of the national biosecurity system and the underpinning IGAB. On 31 March 2016, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, formally announced the commencement of the review and the independent panel undertaking the review.

The scope of the review to be undertaken by the independent panel was to “consider the implementation and effectiveness of the IGAB and its schedules, and to assess the capacity of the national biosecurity system.”

The review panel released a discussion paper in May 2016 and then undertook public consultation between May and August 2016, speaking to a diverse range of participants across the national biosecurity system

In December 2016 the review panel released a draft report and invited comments. The draft report contained 40 recommendations under:

  1. Knowing and owning our roles and responsibilities;
  2. Market access is key;
  3. Stronger environmental biosecurity;
  4. Building the national system;
  5. Research and innovation;
  6. Strengthening governance;
  7. Funding our national system;
  8. Measuring system performance; and
  9. A future system, a future IGAB.

IGAB is an important agreement for national biosecurity as it lays the foundation for government cooperation and collaboration. The conclusion of the review panel was that “a refreshed agreement between Australia’s governments is appropriate and necessary to ensure robust national biosecurity arrangements in to the future”.

The 3 priority reform areas of the IGAB are (1) governance and strategy, (2) national priority pests and diseases and (3) knowledge management and system performance.

It was acknowledged that by improving the governance structures of the IGAB that it will provide “industry and community with a stronger role and voice in further developing the national system.”

“Given the importance of IGAB and its impact on the national biosecurity system, Vinehealth attended a public consultation meeting mid 2016 and put in a submission in response to the review panel’s draft report,” Inca said.

If you would like to obtain a full copy of the Vinehealth’s submission, please email

For more information about IGAB visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/partnerships/nbc/intergovernmental-agreement-on-biosecurity/igabreview