Building a new Biosecurity Act for South Australia

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Consultation Process

Help us develop a simpler, modern and more effective legislative framework for biosecurity in South Australia

What’s being decided?

We are proposing to develop a new, consolidated Biosecurity Act for South Australia. The purpose of the new Act will be to protect South Australia from pests and diseases that are economically significant, threaten our land and aquatic environments or may affect public amenities, community activities and infrastructure.

In developing the Act, we want to:

  • strengthen our biosecurity framework
  • develop modern legislation
  • bring consistency to the management of biosecurity across all industries
  • drive down red-tape costs
  • seek opportunities to

Consultation Process

Help us develop a simpler, modern and more effective legislative framework for biosecurity in South Australia

What’s being decided?

We are proposing to develop a new, consolidated Biosecurity Act for South Australia. The purpose of the new Act will be to protect South Australia from pests and diseases that are economically significant, threaten our land and aquatic environments or may affect public amenities, community activities and infrastructure.

In developing the Act, we want to:

  • strengthen our biosecurity framework
  • develop modern legislation
  • bring consistency to the management of biosecurity across all industries
  • drive down red-tape costs
  • seek opportunities to build a better, more cohesive biosecurity system for the State’s future growth.

Have your say and contribute to the draft Act and future management and protection of South Australia’s primary industries, environment and community.

Get involved

Read the below resources, which will help you understand what the new Act is intended to do:

Information about the proposed approach to a new Biosecurity Act is also available on the PIRSA website.

Have your say by:

  • joining the online discussion
  • completing the online survey
  • registering for one of our webinars
  • emailing your feedback to PIRSA.biosecurityact@sa.gov.au
  • mailing your feedback to
    Biosecurity Act Project - Office of the Chief Executive
    c\o- GPO Box 1671
    ADELAIDE SA 5001
  • requesting a meeting or presentation to be held in your region – contact us on the details below

Please note: Your submissions and survey responses may be made publicly available unless you indicate on the submission or survey that you wish for these to remain confidential. Any responses that are made on a confidential basis may still be subject to access under Freedom of Information laws.

How can your input influence the decision?

Feedback from the engagement process will be collated and provided to the project team to inform the drafting of the new Biosecurity Act.

What are the next steps?

Feedback from public consultation will inform the drafting of a new Biosecurity Act for South Australia, which will be made available on this site for further consultation in 2021.

Contact

Closing date: 5pm Tuesday 24 November 2020




Background

To ensure our biosecurity system remains effective and sustainable into the future, it’s important to review and improve existing legislation. Our current biosecurity legislation is a patchwork of Acts that have been developed independently over the last century, without unified principles or goals. 

The development of a new Biosecurity Act is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the future management and protection of South Australia’s industries, environment and community through robust and appropriate biosecurity measures.

Since early 2019, when it was first announced that the State Government intended to develop a new Biosecurity Act, extensive consultation with key stakeholders has taken place. More than 53 meetings, workshops and presentations to various industry, commercial and government bodies to discuss the way forward have been held, and a Stakeholder Reference Group with 23 industry and statutory authority members has been formed.

An internal review of all South Australian legislation relevant to biosecurity management was undertaken in early 2019. This review identified any Acts with a clear focus on managing a pest or disease (pathogen) as part of South Australia’s biosecurity system for possible consideration and inclusion under a new, consolidated Biosecurity Act for South Australia.

This stage of engagement will involve industry, government, and the general public, to ensure:

  • the legislation developed is modern
  • the management of biosecurity will be consistent across all industries
  • current strengths and weaknesses are evaluated
  • opportunities to build a better, more cohesive biosecurity system for the State’s future growth are taken.

Now is the time to have your say in the future management and protection of this State’s vitally important biosecurity system.

Consultation has concluded
  • Biosecurity Consultation Summary

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    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 14 October to 24 November 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.


    Below is a summary of the consultation and what the Act aims to do. The Consultation Summary PDF is available for download.

    Introduction

    Good biosecurity is essential for protecting South Australia’s reputation for exceptional food, fibre and beverages, and for maintaining and increasing access to international and domestic markets.

    Biosecurity legislation sets out the overarching legal concepts, principles, functions, and legal machinery to support biosecurity management. It also outlines the responsibilities and rules that apply to everyone in this state to protect our biosecurity – rules like not bringing certain fruits and vegetables into fruit-fly free zones or declaring foods, plant or animal items from overseas.

    Thanks to our rigorous and highly responsive biosecurity measures, South Australia is free of a range of pests and diseases that are present in other parts of Australia.

    In South Australia, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), is responsible for managing the risks to South Australia posed by animal and plant pests and diseases, food borne illnesses and the regulation of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. PIRSA is leading the development of the new Act.

    PIRSA operates under South Australia’s Biosecurity Policy 2020-2023. South Australia’s Biosecurity Policy outlines the approach to reduce pest and disease impacts, maintain food safety and support responsible agricultural chemical use. The new Biosecurity Act will support the aims and key policy principles of South Australia’s Biosecurity Policy 2020-2023.


    What is being proposed?

    The new Act will focus our efforts under a single set of principles, protecting the parts of our system that work well, while also improving and modernising our framework to effectively manage the growing threats to our biosecurity. The new Biosecurity Act will help address these issues.

    The purpose of the new Biosecurity Act will be to protect South Australia from pests and diseases that are economically significant, threaten our terrestrial and aquatic environments, or that may affect public amenities, community activities and infrastructure.

    The new Act will keep the best parts of our current system, while building in improvements and modern principles, such as shared responsibility, risk-based decision-making and proactive management of biosecurity risks.

    We will increase consistency across the framework, with current innovative approaches from one sector specific act, being applied across all sectors in the new framework. This creates new opportunities, consistency in our approach and a more efficient regulatory environment.

    Nationally, the new Act will continue to support important market access and trade arrangements for South Australia’s food, fibre and beverages. It will give effect to intergovernmental agreements, and align our arrangements where appropriate, with the arrangements of other states and territories as part of the national model.

    Threats to our biosecurity are increasing in scale and complexity

    South Australia regularly faces biosecurity pressures. Although we deal with them to the best ability of our current systems, pests and diseases can cross our borders.

    Managing biosecurity risks to South Australia is a continuing and evolving challenge, with the threats we face growing in scale and complexity. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 notwithstanding, global trade and travel are increasing and by 2025 it’s estimated that Australia will experience:

    • 28% increase in shipping
    • 72% increase in passenger movements
    • 75% increase in container movements
    • 100% increase in containerised cargo.

    The rapid spread of agricultural pests and diseases across the globe, exacerbated by factors such as climate change, also represents an increased biosecurity risk to South Australia.

    In 2019, the brown-marmorated stink bug affected 33 countries. If our biosecurity practices are not adequately modernised, this unwelcome hitchhiker could arrive undetected in imported goods, and would present a significant danger to our $1.2 billion horticultural industries.

    South Australia remains the only state in Australia to be fruit-fly free, but that status is at risk. Mediterranean and Queensland fruit fly continue to threaten our horticultural industries, with outbreaks throughout 2019 and 2020.

    Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) is a disease which affects Pacific Oysters, causing rapid and high mortalities. It is now endemic in the Port River, and could have a devastating impact on the State’s commercial oyster industry should it spread to other areas. Managing biofouling currently relies in part on the goodwill of vessel owners – but if they refuse to cooperate, current legislation is unable to stop movements of vessels based on suspicion alone.

    Environmental biosecurity threats can impact our biodiversity, substantially reduce tourism and threaten the recreational value of our public spaces. For example, the red imported fire ant, which is considered one of the worst invasive species to reach Australia’s shores, can inflict painful bites and is presently under eradication in South East Queensland and Perth. This pest is estimated to cost Australia around $1.5 billion in impacts every year if it were to become widely established.

    Currently, biosecurity management in South Australia is unnecessarily complex. There is a risk of inconsistency, and a lack of flexibility to meet the increasing challenges posed by the modern global biosecurity environment.

    The new Biosecurity Act will address these issues.


    Our Biosecurity is an asset

    What we have in South Australia is worth protecting

    In 2018–19, primary industries and agribusiness supported 115,723 jobs and contributed $15.9 billion to the state’s economy. South Australia’s robust biosecurity measures play a large part in protecting our primary industries.

    Thanks to our rigorous and highly responsive biosecurity measures, South Australia is the only mainland state in Australia that is fruit fly free, and one of the few places in the world that is free of the vine destroying pest phylloxera.

    A strong and effective biosecurity system is a priority for the South Australian Government. It is essential for protecting South Australia’s reputation for exceptional food and wine, and for maintaining and increasing access to international and domestic markets.

    This is what the new Biosecurity Act will enable. It will protect and enhance biosecurity, for the benefit of our industries, environment and community by providing for the prevention, detection, eradication and management of disease, pests and any other biosecurity issue.

    The opportunities and benefits

    To ensure our biosecurity system remains effective and sustainable into the future, it’s important to review and improve existing legislation. Our current biosecurity legislation is a patchwork of Acts that have been developed independently over the last century, without unified principles or goals.

    The fundamental purpose of the new Biosecurity Act will be the protection of South Australia from pests and diseases that are economically significant, threaten our terrestrial and aquatic environments, or that may affect public amenities, community activities and infrastructure.

    A new Biosecurity Act will improve the current system, by providing strong powers for the prevention, detection, management and eradication of pest and disease incursions.

    For the first time, South Australia will have a biosecurity framework with a consistent approach under a single set of principles. This means that we will have the same, consistent framework for animal and plant health, fisheries and aquaculture biosecurity.

    Consolidating the control measures and tools into a new Biosecurity Act will address the issues of inconsistency and complexity, and enable a modern, flexible approach to managing biosecurity risks.

    The new Act will not seek to increase regulation or business costs across the system; instead the new Act will simplify our system, clarify roles and responsibilities, and make the system more efficient and easier to understand and comply with.

    It will also support alignment and consistency with national and interstate biosecurity frameworks; multiple jurisdictions around Australia already have consolidated biosecurity acts.

    Ultimately, it will continue to provide for a strong biosecurity system and implement improvements that will benefit our industries, environment and community.

    The development of a new Biosecurity Act will provide opportunities to:

    Modernise
    • introduce greater flexibility to respond to biosecurity threats, and enable action based on a reasonable suspicion of risk, where appropriate
    • enhance South Australia’s ability to meet trade market protocols and improve market access, for example by establishing pest-free areas recognised by key export markets
    • enable the identification and uptake of new technology and methodologies to support a strong biosecurity system
    • appropriately share responsibility for biosecurity between government, industry and the community.
    Improve
    • reduce red tape by consolidating administration, empowering industry to take the lead through accreditation programs, and recognising appropriate existing industry practices to avoid duplication
    • enable consistency in applying an evidence-based risk analysis approach to biosecurity management and events
    • improve governance arrangements and interaction with other related South Australian Acts
    • ensure clear and strong powers for biosecurity officers and a comprehensive compliance framework to manage biosecurity risks and establish effective deterrents
    • enhance knowledge and understanding of biosecurity among the South Australian community.
    Consistency and Efficiency
    • create an efficient harmonised system for government, industry and community
    • improve consistency in biosecurity management with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions
    • establish industry-based boards and funding mechanisms to achieve specific industry-based biosecurity outcomes.


    A shared responsibility

    Good biosecurity requires every South Australian to work together and take responsibility.

    Whether you are a landowner, agricultural producer, food manufacturer, transporter, tourist or member of the community, everyone has a role to play.

    It is proposed that the new Biosecurity Act introduces a new concept: a General Biosecurity Duty.

    It is a general duty of care requiring biosecurity risks to be managed by all South Australians. This will be a legal obligation to ensure all South Australians take responsibility for managing their own biosecurity risks.

    The new Act will also empower industry to take leadership and ownership of biosecurity risks, through recognition and accreditation of third-party or industry certification or audit schemes, and industry quality assurance and traceability programs with appropriate assurance and verification measures.

    The goal of shared responsibility is to reduce government intervention, by appropriately sharing responsibility between government, industry, and the community.