Responding to biosecurity concerns

7 July, 2014

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck today welcomed the announcement of progress on the Biosecurity Bill 2014.

"The Government has taken note of issues raised in the Biosecurity Senate inquiry conducted prior to the 2013 election, and we are acting", Senator Colbeck said.

"I am particularly pleased action has been taken to recognise the unique circumstances of various parts of Australia. The Biosecurity Bill will recognise different parts of Australia have different biosecurity requirements dependent on the primary production activities taking place in that region. This may need to be considered when allowing goods to be imported.

"Having participated in Biosecurity Senate inquiry, I am well aware that region differences were a major issue, particularly in Tasmania and Western Australia, but also in other regions."

"It was an important matter to resolve."

Some of the Bill's improvements include:

  • a reduction of more than $6.9 million a year in business compliance costs because of clearer, easier to use legislation and the improved processes it will enable
  • new powers to allow the Commonwealth to respond to biosecurity risks within Australia and help state and territory governments manage a nationally significant pest or disease outbreak - including in our marine environment
  • allowing the general compliance history of a business or individual to be considered when deciding whether to let them import a good, or undertake biosecurity activities-- whereas the current Quarantine Act only allows for assessment of the risks associated with the goods themselves

"These changes mean Australia's quarantine system will continue to provide protection vital to Australia's agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors" Senator Colbeck said.

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