Biosecurity roles and responsibilities

Page last updated: Monday, 8 July 2019 - 11:40am

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The Biosecurity Council of Western Australia (the Council) was asked to provide advice on biosecurity investment decision-making. To develop this advice, the Council agreed that clearly defined roles and responsibilities of government, industry and community were a necessary first step to underpin biosecurity investment decisions.

A summary of the roles and responsibilities is provided below. To view the complete document please refer to the document list to the right hand side of this page.

Biosecurity roles and responsibilities

Underpinning principle: Biosecurity is a shared responsibility.


Good biosecurity provides financial benefits to industry, such as increased productivity and access to markets. Industry contributes to biosecurity-related activities through compulsory levies (such as those through rural R&D corporations), via subscriptions (such as through Plant Health Australia and Animal Health Australia) and voluntary contributions (such as through WA’s Industry Funding Schemes). Industry also undertakes activities to ensure compliance with legislation and protocols, and general surveillance, management and eradication activities.

As such, industry is perceived to play a strong role in safeguarding the State’s biosecurity in a number of ways:

  • Being aware and understanding biosecurity (what it is, why it is important, what you can/must do).
  • Reporting and managing declared pests occurring on their land.
  • Undertaking measures, including adherence to relevant legislation, to minimise biosecurity risks resulting from business activities.
  • Facilitating industry-wide biosecurity activity to deliver industry benefits—including surveillance, eradication, control and funding that is targeted toward providing the best return on investment.
  • Proactively engaging with government on biosecurity issues.
  • Raising awareness of biosecurity within the industry and community, insomuch as this will provide benefits to the industry.


It is critical for Government to ensure the effective and efficient investment of public funds.

As such, Government has a broad leadership role as communicators, educators, facilitators, coordinators, assessors and protectors. To facilitate industry and community acceptance of government funding decisions, it is expected that valid methods will be used transparently.

While industry accepts and supports government’s regulatory role, it expects regulatory requirements to recognise and align with industry operations to minimise ‘red tape’ and ensure practical application. Government roles and responsibilities were identified to include:

  • Targeting effort toward prevention and early eradication, as this provides the best return on investment of public funds.
  • Supporting industry / community in eradication and control efforts (e.g. technical expertise, coordination of responses to new biosecurity incursions).
  • Developing and delivering robust legislation, policies, systems and processes to support the State’s biosecurity system.
  • Building and maintaining widespread support for and understanding of ‘biosecurity’.
  • Targeting Government investment in biosecurity toward areas of public benefit.
  • Managing declared pests on land that Government is responsible for.
  • Providing coordination and leadership in undertaking biosecurity-related emergency response, including the rapid mobilisation of resources.
  • Ensuring engagement and partnerships with industry and community, and clear, transparent process—including for all of the above

Community (all citizens)

Biosecurity is an important part of the Western Australian economy, environment and society requiring participation from all citizens, including the management of pests and diseases by all landholders. From the data, community’s roles are believed to include:

  • Reporting biosecurity issues.
  • Undertaking measures, including adherence to relevant legislation, to prevent the introduction and spread of pests, weeds and diseases.
  • Being aware and understanding biosecurity (what it is, why it is important, what you can/must do).

Not-for-profit, research and community organisations also play an important role through funding (such as via Recognised Biosecurity Groups), voluntary donations of time, money and expertise, the delivery of biosecurity-related research and on-ground programs, as wellas fundraising, communications and awareness-raising activities.

Contact information

Debra Cousins
+61 (0)8 9363 4036


Anna Micha