Our scientists assist in maintaining Australia's favourable biosecurity status by investigating biosecurity risks offshore, at the border, as well as monitoring what is happening in our own backyard to assess and understand the risk that pests and pathogens pose.

The challenge

Biosecurity system face increasing pressures

Australia is a major commodity exporting and importing nation.  Our favourable biosecurity status underpins lower food production costs for primary producers and access to export markets, while supporting Australia’s contribution in a secure global food supply and protecting our unique environment and way of life.

Maintaining this status is key to protecting our A$60 billion agricultural export market, however, this is becoming problematic due to growing pressures for Australia and international markets to demonstrate freedom from pests and diseases.

Our response

Strong biosecurity system

By better understanding the risks and pathways, we can optimise investments in the right kind of surveillance systems. For instance, some of our projects quantify the riskiest pathways of entry in Australia, while others look at where to focus surveillance in ports.

However, once a pest arrives in Australia, how do we eradicate it or limit its spread? We need to choose strategies that have the greatest chance of success. Then once implemented, we need to know whether those methods are working.

By using maths, statistics and modelling, our scientists can provide informed guidance to government and industry to assist in decision-making through uncertainty and providing guidance on where to direct limited funds for the greatest results. Some projects have already provided solutions in managing invasive weeds, controlling mosquito-borne diseases and protecting threatened species from extinction.

CSIRO combines multidisciplinary expertise in the areas of risk analysis, advanced mathematics, robotics and sensors, social, economic, genetic, biological and ecological research to help prevent pests and pathogens from entering Australia and by maximising sustainable suppression of them when they do.

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