Biosecurity is the management of risk from pests and diseases entering, emerging, establishing or spreading in Australia. Local Governments are a key stakeholder under the shared responsibility model between government, industry and community to address biosecurity matters.  WALGA provides policy, resources and learning materials related to biosecurity management, including the Environment Event Series and Environment and Sustainability eLearning course.

Statutory review of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007

In March 2022, the State Government appointed an independent review panel to undertake the statutory review of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act).  The panel has been tasked with assessing the BAM Act’s operation and effectiveness.  This includes the extent to which the BAM Act provides a fit-for-purpose, efficient and effective legal framework to underpin a word class biosecurity system, and related agricultural management, for Western Australia.  The review of the BAM Act represents a once in a decade opportunity to move towards better practice.The review is being undertaken in a three stage process, with more information available here.

Stage 3 of the BAM Act Review
The Review Panel's Stage 3 Discussion Paper identified nine reform areas and 21 proposed opportunities for reform. Stage 3 is the final stage of the review and consultation closed on 30 June 2023.

WALGA completed a Stage 3 Submission that outlines the potential benefits or issues of each reform opportunity, as well as where the Review Panel's target outcomes and reform opportunities align with WALGA's 2022 Biosecurity Advocacy Position (see below).

WALGA also hosted a webinar with the Review Panel Chair on the Stage 3 reform opportunities on Wednesday, 14 June, with the recording available here.

The review panel will deliver its final report to the Minister for Agriculture and Food later this year. The WA Government will then determine if it will act on those recommendations and, if it chooses to proceed, how further work and consultation will be done to progress the recommendations.
More information on the BAM Act Review can be found on the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development’s website.

Previous stages of the BAM Act Review
WALGA submitted a Discussion Paper for Stage 1 of the review, with 11 key themes and recommendations to provide context on relevant matters for Local Government.

For further information, please contact Melanie Davies, WALGA’s Environment Policy Officer, or call 9213 2065. 

WALGA Biosecurity Advocacy Position

Western Australia’s economy, environment and the community are facing increasing challenges posed by already established and new pests, weeds and diseases.
Local Government has a significant role in biosecurity management, as land managers and regulators, and therefore has an interest in ensuring that Western Australia’s biosecurity system, including control of declared pests, is effective and appropriately resourced.
WALGA considers significant changes to the operation of the State’s biosecurity system, including the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007, are required to ensure these risks can be managed now and into the future. To be effective the Western Australian biosecurity system must:
  1. Take a transparent approach to the notion of ‘shared responsibility’ by ensuring that:
    • The respective roles and responsibilities of Commonwealth, State and Local Government, industry, landholders, community groups and individuals are agreed and clearly articulated; and
    • There is improved pest management on State Government managed land and a formalised structure for State Government agencies with responsibilities for biosecurity management to work together and coordinate their activities.
  2. Be underpinned by a strategic framework, developed in collaboration with stakeholders, that:
    • Establishes priorities for biosecurity threats in geographically defined regions, sets measurable targets and guides investment in biosecurity activities; and
    • Is regularly evaluated and reported on.
  3.  Have a greater focus on environmental biosecurity, through the increased recognition and management of pest species that have significant ecological impacts.
  4.  Be adequately, sustainably and equitably funded:
    • The appropriateness and effectiveness of the Declared Pest Rate (DPR) and Recognised Biosecurity Group (RBG) model as key mechanisms for the management of widespread and established declared pests should be reviewed and alternate mechanisms considered;  
    • Increased and more equitable distribution of funding for every step in the biosecurity continuum and adequate resourcing for all stakeholders, including Local Government; and
    • The provision of funding for declared pest management in metropolitan areas.
  5.  Ensure that the criteria and process for listing of declared pests is evidence-based, timely and transparent.
  6. Have an increased emphasis on compliance through education and enforcement activity, to ensure land managers are aware of their legislative responsibilities and are supported to implement biosecurity actions.
  7. Facilitate the use of new technologies, strategic monitoring, and the establishment of data management systems to inform biosecurity investment decisions and support adaptive management.
  8. Improve the community’s understanding, awareness and action in relation to biosecurity to assist with threat surveillance and timely response to incursions.

Past WALGA Submissions

Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review

The Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) is an agreement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments (except Tasmania) to strengthen the biosecurity system.  It defines the roles and responsibilities of governments and outlines the priority areas for collaboration to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on Australia's economy.

An independent review of the national biosecurity system and the IGAB was undertaken in 2016-17. Australian Agriculture Ministers responded to the IGAB Review Final Report in November 2018.

WALGA submissions to the review are listed above.

Biosecurity Legislation and Strategies

Western Australia
Western Australia Biosecurity Strategy 2016 - 2025
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act)
Bioscurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Agriculture Standards) Regulations 2013
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Industry Funding Scheme (Grains) Regulations 2010
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Industry Funding Scheme (Sheep and Goats) Regulations 2010
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Industry Funding Scheme (Cattle) Regulations 2010
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Quality Assurance and Accreditation) Regulations 2013
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2013
Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Declared Pest Account) Regulations 2014

Commonwealth of Australia
Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030
Biosecurity Act 2015

Additional resources

Western Australian Organism List (WAOL)