Research and teaching organisations in Tasmania have an important role to play in helping to protect the state from the harmful impacts of pests, weeds and diseases. These include universities, institutes and government or private industry research facilities, as well as individuals that are involved in biological research.
Listed below are some biosecurity actions you can take to meet your General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) and to help keep your organisation - and Tasmania - biosecurity safe.
Develop a Biosecurity Plan
Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan for your research facility or site is a key step that you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of pests, weeds and disease on the property you manage. They are also a good way to educate staff and visitors on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the Farm Biosecurity website
is a great starting point.
Important Biosecurity Actions
Biosecurity vigilance (also known as Notification of a Biosecurity Event)
- If you or your colleagues SEE something at your facility or site that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or diseases, or invasive animal species;
- SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then
- REPORT it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible.
Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.
Livestock and other animals
- Ensure that all animal holding facilities, including breeding colonies, sea pens and paddock fences, are well maintained to prevent the escape of animals or prevent access by non-permitted persons and that entry points are closed after people pass through to prevent the escape or entry of animals. Depending on the site’s use this may also include insect and vermin control (escape and entry).
- Apply animal welfare best practice, as described in relevant legislation, codes of practice, guidelines and quality assurance programs.
- Never feed swill to pigs, Restricted Animal Material (RAM) to ruminant animals (for example, cattle, sheep and goats), or raw offal to dogs, and that ensure that visitors are not permitted to bring food onto the property for the purpose of feeding animals.
- Ensure all animal feed, bedding and genetic inputs are managed appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health and the environment.
- Adhere to industry best practice if unsure about managing disease exposure risks, such as specific time intervals required between visiting different sites for certain farm animal species.
- Register your facility or site with a Property Identification Code (PIC). Facilities or sites with one or more head of cattle, sheep, goats or pigs must apply for a PIC. Facilities or sites that hold other types of animals and/or deal with biological matter that may pose a biosecurity risk, or that engage in any form of primary industries enterprise (including aquatic) are strongly encouraged to register for a PIC if not otherwise required. PICs should be updated at least bi-annually, or as your specific situation changes.
Pests, weeds and diseases
- Ensure that visitors are made aware of any biosecurity requirements at the research facility or site, including completion of sign-in logs and the need for good vehicle, equipment, clothing and personal hygiene when travelling between sites.
- Carrying a basic, personal biosecurity kit is a good way of decontaminating vehicles, clothing and equipment. Recommended contents and instructions on putting a kit together can be found at the Farm Biosecurity website.
- Establish a dedicated visitor parking area, traffic route and visitor walking route to prevent unapproved access to your operation.
- Ensure that clothing, vehicles and equipment of staff and visitors are clean and dry on arrival and free of aquatic debris, soil and plant material (such as weed seeds).
- Understand your responsibilities in the control of declared weeds on your property and take all reasonable measures to limit their impact and spread. Visit the webpages for more information on weeds in Tasmania.
- Clean equipment regularly and thoroughly to prevent the transfer of pests and diseases.
- Maintain accurate records of movement of all biological matter that may pose a biosecurity risk in and out of your facility or trial site to assist traceback/forward in the case of an outbreak of a pest or disease. Check field trial sites regularly for pests and diseases.
- Ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemicals are used as per label, or applicable off-label permit (i.e. appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health, plant health and the environment). Find out more about AgVet chemical use in Tasmania.
Importing items into Tasmania
- Check the biosecurity requirements before you import any plants or plant products, livestock, laboratory animals and some animal products, including seeds, seedlings, rootstock, cuttings, microbiological cultures, insects and semen, as well as samples, including leaves, soil, blood/tissue or biological vectors/agents. You can do this via the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania (for plants and plant products), the Biosecurity Tasmania website (for animals or animal products) or by contacting Biosecurity Tasmania.
- Ensure that imports are accompanied by any required certificates, permits or other documentation, that labelling is accurate and clearly marked ‘for attention Biosecurity Tasmania’, and that you notify Biosecurity Tasmania of the import at least 24 hours prior to arrival where required.
- All imported plants and many of their products must be presented to Biosecurity Tasmania for inspection at an Approved Quarantine Place (AQP). It is the responsibility of the importer to determine an appropriate AQP and make a booking for inspection with Biosecurity Tasmania once the AQP has confirmed they will accept the consignment.
- If you are importing research equipment or machinery, you need to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that they are cleaned and free of all soil, seeds and plant material prior to arriving in Tasmania. Ensure you are aware of and have treated the risk that the equipment or instruments may be carrying infectious pathogens or vectors. Additional import requirements may apply, Check the website for more detail.
- If you are importing seeds in consignments under 1kg as per Import Requirement 36 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania, ensure that they are sourced from an approved supplier, or consider applying to become a registered importer if you plan on importing seeds on a regular basis.
Contact and reporting
Contact Biosecurity Tasmania for general information or to report a suspected pest, weed or disease:
Phone: (03) 6165 3777
Alternatively, for reporting pests, weeds or diseases, you can call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881) or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 858).
Stay up to date on Biosecurity in Tasmania
Subscribing to get Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories
is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity
Follow Biosecurity Tasmania on Facebook.
Please note that this information contains minimum recommendations only. The GBD requires a person dealing with biosecurity matter or a carrier to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk associated with the dealing. Such measures may not be specified in any regulations, guidelines or other official publications.