There’s a new Commonwealth Biosecurity Act

On 16 June 2016 the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Biosecurity Act 2015 replaced the Quarantine Act 1908.

This is a comprehensive modernisation of Australian biosecurity legislation and work will continue over the coming years to fully implement the Biosecurity Act and to realise its full benefits.

There are no changes to the way existing import conditions take into account the animal and plant health status of different states and territories as a result of the Act coming into effect.

The Australian government and states and territories will continue to work together on ensuring regional differences supported by scientific evidence are reflected in Australia's import conditions.

The Commonwealth will have new powers to manage onshore biosecurity risks (including the 12 nautical mile marine zone).

The Commonwealth will work with states and territories to determine when or how these new powers may be used with state and territory legislation to more effectively manage onshore biosecurity risks. The Commonwealth will also identify what thresholds must be met, and how to evaluate these, for the biosecurity emergency declaration powers in Part 1 or Chapter 8 to be triggered.

The legislation provides for a single Australian-wide ballast water and sediment management regime for both international and domestic vessels consistent with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. The implementation of domestic ballast water regulations has been delayed until the International Convention comes into force.

Further information is available from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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