Our new biosecurity legislation, the Biosecurity Act 2019 (the Act)
, has received Royal Assent. Work is underway to implement the changes. These changes will be rolled out in a staged manner to minimise impact to business and the community.
Until those changes are made, the regulations made under the many separate pieces of legislation that were previously used to manage biosecurity will remain in place as the main compliance tools. This is until the provisions of the new Act are proclaimed.
Full implementation will take three to four years and will involve consultation and ongoing participation between government, industry and community.
- improved ‘pre-border’ biosecurity management and an updated version of the legislation that previously managed Tasmania’s biosecurity
- a General Biosecurity Duty giving all people dealing with any animals, plants or related products a statutory duty of care to properly manage biosecurity risks.
- criminal penalties that are more appropriate for the nature and gravity of biosecurity offences.
- the ability for detailed biosecurity measures to be tailor-made for managing specific issues, activities or impacts, and implemented via subordinate regulations and statutory programs.
Significant stakeholder consultation occurred on the underlying policy of the new Act, commencing with the release of several position papers throughout 2016 and 2017 and extensive stakeholder consultation across 2017-2018 during preparation of the draft Biosecurity Bill.
Amendments to the draft Bill were made based on feedback received, and a small number of technical improvements were made in 2018 to address issues identified during the Queensland fruit fly response.
Up until now, Tasmania’s biosecurity has been managed under seven separate Acts. While these Acts have served us well, they were developed incrementally over three decades, and in a piecemeal fashion.
The Biosecurity Bill 2019 was tabled in Parliament on Thursday 2 May 2019.
The Bill passed the Legislative Council without amendment, and on 26 August 2019 the Biosecurity Act 2019 received Royal Assent. Royal Assent is given when the Governor of Tasmania, representing the sovereign, assents to a Bill after it has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, therefore meaning the Bill has now become an Act of parliament.
This exciting development represents one of the most significant reforms of Tasmania’s primary industry and environmental laws in decades.
The Act provides a far simpler and more effective legal framework for the management of pests, diseases and invasive species, imports of plant and animal products, biosecurity emergencies, and monetary reimbursement for biosecurity related loss.
The Act will ensure Tasmania has modern biosecurity laws capable of progressing the Tasmanian Biosecurity Strategy
, whilst minimising red tape for business and the general community.
Biosecurity Advisory Committee
An important element of the Biosecurity Act 2019
is the establishment of a Biosecurity Advisory Committee. The Committee will provide advice to the Tasmanian Government and Minister for Primary Industries and Water on biosecurity in Tasmania and will help guide Government strategies and policy for biosecurity matters. Visit the Biosecurity Advisory Committee page for more information