Commonwealth Biosecurity Amendment Bill Introduced to Parliament

Friday 20 April 2018 @ 10.30 a.m. | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

On 28 March 2018, the Biosecurity Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 (Cth) (the “Bill”) was introduced into the Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives by the Hon David Littleproud MP.

The Bill is currently before the House of Representatives where it is awaiting further comment and discussion. It is proposed to make substantive amendments to the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) as well as repealing the Quarantine (Validation of Fees) Act 1985 (Cth).


In the Minister’s second reading speech of 28 March 2018, he commented:

“… Australia's biosecurity system is critical for the protection of our agricultural industries, human health, the environment and the broader economy … the Biosecurity Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 will help in our continuous fight to manage biosecurity risks, and further strengthen Australia's already enviable biosecurity status … The biosecurity system must deal with a broad range of risks posed by the possibility of pests and diseases entering and establishing in Australia. It is essential that we continue to maintain and improve our biosecurity legislation to enable us to manage these threats …
… Further, this bill will allow for the gathering of information about goods imported into Australia that may have breached import conditions, so that the department can assess and where required manage biosecurity risk …””

Object of the Legislation

The object of the Bill is to make amendments to the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the “Act”) in order to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system.

It proposes new information gathering provisions under Chapter 6 of the Act, which deals with monitoring, controlling and responding to biosecurity risks within Australia. The Bill also proposes to enable instruments made under ss 174(1) of the Act, including the Biosecurity (Prohibited and Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods) Determination 2016 (Cth), to incorporate publicly available documents as amended from time to time.

Other proposed amendments include:

  • clarifying the definitions of commercial-in-confidence information and human remains;
  • clarifying provisions relating to the sharing of protected information with National Focal Points under the International Health Regulations (2005) (the “International Health Regulations, WHO, Third Edition”);
  • technical amendments to ensure accuracy in references and titles; and
  • as various provisions have already had their intended effect and/or relate to legislation no longer in use, the Quarantine (Validation of Fees) Act 1985 will be repealed.

It is envisaged that these changes will improve the operation of the legislation to ensure Australia’s biosecurity system is continuing to keep pace with the changing biosecurity environment.

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Biosecurity Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 (Cth) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne service. 

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