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Looking to the future of Australia's biosecurity system

[Image appears of a view looking over a scrubby mountainous area and then images move through of a car travelling down a dirt road, a kangaroo, and Dr Andy Sheppard talking and text appears: Dr Andy Sheppard, CSIRO]

Dr Andy Sheppard: Australia is an island continent with a very unique flora and fauna which attracts tourists from around the world. 

[Image changes to show Dr Sheppard talking and then the image changes to show a rear view of a male working in a laboratory]

So, it’s vitally important that Australia has a biosecurity system to protect that wildlife. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a male syringing liquid into a sample container and then the image changes to show a close view of a male looking into a microscope] 

But we also have a globally driven export agricultural industry. 

[Images move through to show Dr Sheppard talking to the camera, an aerial view of a herd of cattle, and then a close view of a herd of cattle]

And the biosecurity system is also vitally important to ensure that Australians’ agricultural industries can grow and attract the best global prices.

[Image changes to show Sarah Corcoran talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a side view of a male in a hot house looking at a leaf through a magnifying glass and text appears: Sarah Corcoran, CEO, Plant Health Australia]

Sarah Corcoran: Australia’s Biosecurity Future Report provides us with a platform to go forward with our shared responsibility and to bring together partnerships with government, industry and the communities so that we protect Australia’s agricultural industries and environment into the future.

[Image changes to show Kathleen Plowman talking to the camera and text appears: Kathleen Plowman, CEO, Animal Health Australia]

Kathleen Plowman: Business as usual approach, scaling up on what we currently do, will not meet this growing and cumulative biosecurity risk that we face. 

[Image changes to show an aerial view of a herd of cattle and then image changes to show a close view of a farmer on a motorbike watching a mob of sheep]

There are more and more pests, weeds, diseases entering, or at our borders. 

[Image changes to show Kathleen talking to the camera]

We don’t have the luxury of time. We need to be pro-active and we need to come together and look at where are those priorities and where do we need to be investing. 

[Image changes to show an aerial view of trucks move through a shipping yard and then the image changes to show forklifts and cranes moving in a shipping yard]

If we want to be the most bio-secure trading nation that’s respected globally, we’re going to have to do a significant transformational change. 

[Image changes to show Andreas Glanznig talking to the camera and text appears: Andreas Glanznig, CEO, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions]

Andreas Glanznig: We need an innovation-centred transformation of our national biosecurity system if we’re going to keep Australia on the front foot. 

[Images move through to show a side view male syringing a liquid into a sample pot in a sample case and then the camera zooms in on the sample]

This is all about avoiding future impacts, avoiding future risks. 

[Image changes to show Andreas talking to the camera]

We can transform our national biosecurity system to put Australia on the front foot and that’s a goal worth fighting for.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Plant Health Australia, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, Animal Health Australia and CSIRO logos and text appears above: Read Australia’s Biosecurity Future at]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

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In partnership with Animal Health Australia, Plant Health Australia, and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, CSIRO has consulted widely to develop an action-oriented update to its 2014 report 'Australia's Biosecurity Future: Preparing for future biological challenges'.

This report provides a vision for how proactive transformation of the Biosecurity system can ensure the nation is adequately prepared for existing and emerging challenges.


The report was developed collaboratively through interviews and workshops with 26 organisations across the biosecurity system; including Commonwealth and state governments, research, industry and non-government organisations.

Download the report

Read our insights on a vision for a biosecurity system transformation by 2030.

Australia's Biosecurity System

Biosecurity is critical to supporting the health and wellbeing of Australian people, resilient communities, healthy ecosystems, and sustainable food systems. While Australia has one of the strongest biosecurity systems globally, outbreaks across human, agriculture, environment and marine health are continuing to rise in volume and complexity.

Between 2012 and 2017, the annual number of interceptions of biosecurity risk materials at Australian borders rose by almost 50 per cent, to 37,014.

Indicate biosecurity incursions and cumulative burden in Australia

Scaling current approaches will not be enough; transformational change is needed

The costly ongoing management of established species coupled with the increasing risk of new incursions is placing growing strain on the system which is already experiencing resourcing challenges. While investments are being made towards some of these challenges, continuing along the 'business as usual' (BAU) trajectory of slow and incremental change could expose Australia to significant triple bottom line risks over the next 10 years.

Modelling shows that even almost tripling investment in interventions out to 2025 will still result in increased residual biosecurity risk compared to 2014-2015 levels. The system requires more transformational change in approaches and responsibilities to generate greater efficiencies and effectiveness.

Now is the time for a system re-think

Preparing Australia for biosecurity resilience in 2030 will require setting nationally coordinated goals across the One Health spectrum (human, agricultural, environmental and marine health sectors). Pursuing the transformational trajectory will require stronger collaboration across governments, industry, research and the community.

This report provides recommendations under three key themes:

  • System connectivity – digitisation and enhancing data sharing across supply chains and the human, agricultural, environmental and marine health sectors to ensure we identify and manage emerging risks.
  • Shared responsibility – enabling the role of industry and community in biosecurity responsibility through improved community engagement; more systemic collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations and individuals; and working with industry to develop their role in surveillance.
  • Science and technology – supporting the growth of novel tech-enabled start-ups that create business opportunities for biosecurity, as well as developing international biosecurity innovation priorities for the sector to focus and collaborate on.

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