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The increasing threat of incursions

Trade, tourism and climate change are putting pressure on our biosecurity system

Biosecurity is a key national priority. We rely on our national biosecurity system to manage the risk of exotic and invasive pests, weeds and diseases entering, emerging, establishing or spreading within Australia. These pests, weeds and diseases can have significant impacts on the economy, environment and community. Australia is fortunate to have a world-leading biosecurity system. 

Our biosecurity system, combined with our geographic location and world-class research, have helped to protect Australia from many of the world’s most serious pests, weeds, and diseases. However, increasing trade and tourism , climate change and changing land use patterns are putting pressure on our enviable biosecurity system.   Biosecurity risks are growing in number and complexity.

A biosecurity incursion occurs when a pest, weed or disease establishes in a new area.  The impact of such incursions can be significant. It is estimated that invasive species currently cost Australia around $25 billion a year. The actual figure is likely to be even higher as this estimate does not include environmental impacts. 

New incursions will continue into the future, with Australia facing several high-risk threats. The direct economic impact of a large multi-state outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could reach $80 billion over 10 years. While, if khapra beetle became established it could cost our economy $15.5 billion over 20 years.


Innovative science and technology for a stronger system. 

We need to evolve our national biosecurity system to address the growing threats and impacts of pests, weeds, and diseases .

The National Biosecurity Strategy identifies the need to develop “a risk-based system underpinned by science that protects Australia’s people, our environment and economy from the biosecurity threats of today and tomorrow”. It also highlights the important role of technology, research, and data in enabling this goal.

Together with government, industry, universities, community, and Indigenous partners, we are looking to collaborate and invest in innovative science and technology outcomes. By working together, we aim to deliver an integrated, secure, data-driven, and technology-enabled biosecurity system for Australia.

Australia's Biosecurity Future: Unlocking the next decade of resilience

The Australia's Biosecurity Future report provides a transformational vision for a resilient biosecurity system in 2030, and outlines what needs to happen to get there.

Watch our short video to find out more about our insights for a biosecurity system transformation.

You can download a copy of the report here.

[Image appears of a view looking over a scrubby mountainous area and then images move through of a car travelling down a dirt road, a kangaroo, and Dr Andy Sheppard talking and text appears: Dr Andy Sheppard, CSIRO]

Dr Andy Sheppard: Australia is an island continent with a very unique flora and fauna which attracts tourists from around the world. 

[Image changes to show Dr Sheppard talking and then the image changes to show a rear view of a male working in a laboratory]

So, it’s vitally important that Australia has a biosecurity system to protect that wildlife. 

[Image changes to show a close view of a male syringing liquid into a sample container and then the image changes to show a close view of a male looking into a microscope] 

But we also have a globally driven export agricultural industry. 

[Images move through to show Dr Sheppard talking to the camera, an aerial view of a herd of cattle, and then a close view of a herd of cattle]

And the biosecurity system is also vitally important to ensure that Australians’ agricultural industries can grow and attract the best global prices.

[Image changes to show Sarah Corcoran talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a side view of a male in a hot house looking at a leaf through a magnifying glass and text appears: Sarah Corcoran, CEO, Plant Health Australia]

Sarah Corcoran: Australia’s Biosecurity Future Report provides us with a platform to go forward with our shared responsibility and to bring together partnerships with government, industry and the communities so that we protect Australia’s agricultural industries and environment into the future.

[Image changes to show Kathleen Plowman talking to the camera and text appears: Kathleen Plowman, CEO, Animal Health Australia]

Kathleen Plowman: Business as usual approach, scaling up on what we currently do, will not meet this growing and cumulative biosecurity risk that we face. 

[Image changes to show an aerial view of a herd of cattle and then image changes to show a close view of a farmer on a motorbike watching a mob of sheep]

There are more and more pests, weeds, diseases entering, or at our borders. 

[Image changes to show Kathleen talking to the camera]

We don’t have the luxury of time. We need to be pro-active and we need to come together and look at where are those priorities and where do we need to be investing. 

[Image changes to show an aerial view of trucks move through a shipping yard and then the image changes to show forklifts and cranes moving in a shipping yard]

If we want to be the most bio-secure trading nation that’s respected globally, we’re going to have to do a significant transformational change. 

[Image changes to show Andreas Glanznig talking to the camera and text appears: Andreas Glanznig, CEO, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions]

Andreas Glanznig: We need an innovation-centred transformation of our national biosecurity system if we’re going to keep Australia on the front foot. 

[Images move through to show a side view male syringing a liquid into a sample pot in a sample case and then the camera zooms in on the sample]

This is all about avoiding future impacts, avoiding future risks. 

[Image changes to show Andreas talking to the camera]

We can transform our national biosecurity system to put Australia on the front foot and that’s a goal worth fighting for.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the Plant Health Australia, Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, Animal Health Australia and CSIRO logos and text appears above: Read Australia’s Biosecurity Future at]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

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Biosecurity innovation has the potential to protect and enhance Australia's economic, agricultural and environmental interests.

Our desired impact is that, by 2030, we have been instrumental in supporting a technologically and digitally enabled national biosecurity system to manage biosecurity risk efficiently and effectively. This includes being responsive to new and emerging threats and system challenges. 

The Centre of Excellence in Biosecurity Risk Analysis has estimated that Australia’s biosecurity system will reduce damages due to invasive species by $314 billion over 50 years (in present value, at the current threat level), providing a 30 to 1 return on current investment. This system protect Australia's

  • $73.5 billion of agricultural, forestry and seafood production
  • 1.6 million jobs across the agriculture supply chain
  • environmental assets valued at over $6.5 trillion 
  • $152 billion tourism sector.

Our focus

Our work will span animal, plant and environmental biosecurity, from offshore to on-farm. 

Our goal is to improve long-term national biosecurity outcomes by delivering innovative technologies, digital systems and capabilities that transform performance.

We will focus on:

  • Detection and diagnostic technologies and platforms. Activities focused on understanding, detecting and diagnosing priority exotic pests and diseases.
  • Intelligence gathering platforms. Activities where biosecurity needs intelligence-based data to deal with threats and define better markets of trade.
  • Intervention technologies. Any tool or technology needed to intervene or mitigate a real or potential biosecurity impact from on-farm to national level response, including sovereign vaccines, antimicrobials and associated biomanufacturing, novel biocontrol, and biopesticides.
  • Decision support systems and modelling platforms. Activities supporting preparedness and emergency response, including supporting scenario planning, national response capability exercises and real-time outbreak responses.
  • Social-economic support. Activities supporting effective and integrated human aspects of shared responsibility and effective governance across the system.
  • Performance assurance mechanisms. Activities that enhance evaluation and monitoring (cost effectiveness and success analysis) and mechanism to test the performance of the system and assure progress is on target.


Working together to transform Australia's biosecurity system.

We are aiming to catalyse technology development, innovation, and adoption across Australia's complex biosecurity system. Collaborating with all Australian biosecurity stakeholders will be critical to achieve our goal.

We are partnering with the  Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF) to design and develop the initiative. DAFF is responsible for ensuring robust biosecurity arrangements are in place that deliver an appropriate level of protection from pests, weeds, and diseases.  By working together, we aim to accelerate efforts to create a strong, future-orientated, and efficient national biosecurity system.

Beyond this core partnership, we are seeking foundation partners across the biosecurity sector. This includes state and territory governments, private sector and industry, non-government organisations, universities, research institutes and community members.

We will be holding information sessions for external stakeholders in the coming months. Please get in touch if you would like to register your interest in attending an information session or collaborating with us.

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