Biosecurity and Local Government

Biosecurity and Local Government
Local Governments play a significant role in post border biosecurity in Western Australia, ranging from being a contact point for concerned community members, having responsibility for developing pest management local laws under the Local Government Act 1995 and as a significant landowner in its own right.
Post border biosecurity in Western Australia is managed under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Act 2007 (BAM Act), and regulations, introduced in 2013. Local Government is represented on the Biosecurity Council and is involved in a number of Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs).

Biosecurity Policy Position
There has been a continual decline in post border management of invasive species by the State Government lead agency, the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) over the last 20 years.  The policy to move to RBGs under the BAM Act has been poorly developed and implemented by the State, as noted by the Auditor General report of December 2013.  Local Government are not supportive of the current RBG model.

WALGA advocates that the State Government should undertake a review of the operation and effectiveness of the BAM Act as a matter of priority. This should include consideration of alternative models for post border biosecurity management, including reinstatement of the Agriculture Protection Board or a model similar to the Local Land Services Act 2013 in New South Wales.
The full Biosecurity Policy Position 4.16 can be viewed here.

State Council Resolutions

  • March 2017 - 14.1/2017
  • July 2015 – 70.4/2015
  • January 2006 – 023.ENV.1/2006
  • January 2006 – 046.ENV.2/2006
WALGA's paper Post border biosecurity reform: Recommendations to the State Government advocates:
  • options for improved policy settings, governance and regulation
  • program initiatives
  • amendments to the BAM Act
  • a further Auditor General review of DAFWA's post border biosecurity management

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.

In late 2015, Australian Agriculture Ministers agreed to initiate a review of the national biosecurity system and the underpinning IGAB. WALGA made two submissions to the review.

IGAB review Discussion Paper - WALGA submission
IGAB Review Draft Report - WALGA submission
IGAB Review Final Report

Additional resources
Western Australian Organism List (WAOL)