Tasmania Introduces Bill To Facilitate New Biosecurity Framework

Friday 29 May 2020 @ 11.33 a.m. | Legal Research

The Biosecurity (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020 (Tas) was introduced into Tasmania’s House of Assembly on 7 May 2020 by the Hon Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, with the Bill currently before the Assembly.


As outlined in the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”), the amendments contained in the Bill  “have been drafted for the purpose of consequently amending several related Acts upon the full commencement of the Biosecurity Act 2019.”

The object of the amendments is to facilitate implementation of the new Biosecurity Act 2019 (the "Act") (No 22 of 2019). The Acts requiring amendment all contain references to the “old legislation” which will need to be updated to reflect the new legislation.

An independent Biosecurity Advisory Committee (“Committee”) has been established and includes representatives from relevant industry sectors to provide “advice to the Tasmanian Government and Minister for Primary Industries and Water on biosecurity in Tasmania and will help guide Government strategies and policy for biosecurity matters”.

Object of the Committee

The Committee’s object is to "help facilitate partnerships between community, industry and government sectors to ensure they all work together".

The committee includes a mix of skills and representatives from a range of industry sectors across Tasmania, including wild fisheries and aquaculture sectors, animal and plant-based agricultural industries, tourism industries, environmental organisations, the science, industry and community liaison, and education sectors, accounting, economic or strategic planning expertise, public administration expertise at both the State and local government level, a community member and a State Service employee.

Background to the Biosecurity Act 2019

The Act was assented on 26 August 2019 with certain provisions of the Act commencing on 1 January 2020. The remaining uncommenced provisions of the Act (including new regulatory requirements), will be implemented in a staged process to minimise impact to business and the community.

As outlined on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) website, consultation on the Act included significant stakeholder consultation on the underlying policy of the new legislation and commenced with the "release of several position papers throughout 2016 and 2017 and extensive stakeholder consultation across 2017-2018 during preparation of the draft Biosecurity Bill".

The object of the Act is to provide a “far simpler and more effective legal framework for the management of pests, diseases and invasive species, imports of plant and animal products, biosecurity emergencies, and monetary reimbursement for biosecurity related loss”.

Brief Overview of the Proposed Amendments

Once fully implemented, it is expected the new legislation will replace the following:

  • Vermin Control Act 2000;
  • Weed Management Act 1999;
  • Plant Quarantine Act 1997;
  • Animal Health Act 1995;
  • Animal Farming (Registration) Act 1994;
  • Seeds Act 1985; and
  • Animal (Brands and Movement) Act 1984.

Some of the consequential amendments will affect:

  • Biosecurity Act 2019;
  • Animal (Brands and Movement) Act 1984;
  • Animal Farming (Registration) Act 1994;
  • Animal Health Act 1995; and
  • Weed Management Act 1999.

Comment on the Bill

In his speech, the Minister commented:

“I think I can safely say that there has never been a time in our recent history when the importance of biosecurity has been clearer and more apparent to all Tasmanians … I noted that we faced increasing challenges in managing biosecurity … None of us then knew what was coming, and now it has come, COVID-19 has well and truly demonstrated the need for us to be prepared for biosecurity emergencies.”

Speaking on the Bill in a media release, Minister Barnett said:

“Tasmania needs a modern regulatory system and strong progress has already been made in implementing all aspects of the Act which will help protect the state for the next 30 years … action includes the development of regulations and a biosecurity program for the salmon industry, regulations for the bee-keeping industry and the development of the Tasmanian Biosecurity Compendium, which lists the plants, animals and other material that are either prohibited or not permitted in Tasmania. The new legislation replaces seven repealed Acts to make the system simpler, easier to understand and more efficient …”

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