A second tranche of draft biosecurity legislation chapters is available for public comment.
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Conall O’Connell, said the draft chapters – preliminary, transport, governance and officials, and miscellaneous had been added to the consultation website to give interested parties an opportunity to review and provide feedback to the department.
“We are rewriting the legislation to replace the century-old Quarantine Act,” Dr O’Connell said.
“Chapter one outlines the operational context for the Act – that includes things like the objective of the Act, its geographical coverage, how we see it interacting with state and territory laws, as well as including a statement of Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection.
“Chapter four outlines how biosecurity risks associated with conveyances will be managed. We refer to conveyances instead of vessels in order to better capture the use of air, sea and land transport across the biosecurity continuum – offshore, at the border and on-shore. In effect, by including land transport we aim to be more effective in managing incursions onshore.
“Chapter four also includes a new framework for establishing and managing first points of entry – a system that is designed to be more robust and manage biosecurity risk more appropriately than the current first ports system.
“Chapter 11, or governance and officials, outlines the powers and responsibilities of the office bearers in the Act. It defines what the Director of Biosecurity, biosecurity officers, and other officers under the Act can do and when.
“Chapter 12 contains important provisions that don’t fit neatly under other chapter titles. This includes things like appropriate recovery of costs and protection from civil proceedings.”
Dr O’Connell said chapters were being released for comment as soon as they are available.
“Work to finalise drafts of all chapters is ongoing – it’s a big job and we want to make sure that the community is as informed as possible before the final package is introduced into the Parliament.
“I’m glad to see that people are getting involved in the consultation – more than 40 representatives from industry and other jurisdictions have attended the three meetings we have held to date. We have confirmed that eight public meetings will be held from
“30 July across the country following strong interest.
“On the consultation website we have recorded nearly 4500 unique page views of the information we have made available and we also have had 1150 unique visitors to our blog.
“I encourage people to read the information we have made available and to give us feedback on whether the legislation hits the right balance of better managing the risks to Australia’s human, animal and plant health while allowing for increased movements of people and goods across our borders,” Dr O’Connell said.
This phase of consultation on the legislation closes on 10 August.
For more information about the draft biosecurity legislation consultations go to biosecurity.govspace.gov.au.
20 July 2012