NSW Government delivers on Biosecurity Commissioner election commitment with passing of bill

30 Nov 2023

The NSW Government has successfully delivered on its commitment to strengthen the state’s biosecurity with the passing today of the Biosecurity Amendment (Independent Biosecurity Commissioner) Bill 2023.

The successful passing of the Bill through parliament has enabled the establishment of an independent Biosecurity Commissioner which is a key election commitment for the Minns Labor Government.

The Biosecurity Commissioner will strengthen the impact and accountability of our biosecurity programs for pests and weeds and was developed following extensive consultation with farmers and land holders.

The Commissioner will oversee the management of pests and weeds in the state by providing independent and impartial advice to the NSW Government on the effectiveness of programs.

The Government is responding to stakeholder priority issues and will refer four proposals to the Commissioner following their appointment. These are:

  • review any perception of an inconsistent enforcement approach
  • improve communications to occupiers of land on biosecurity obligations
  • explore involvement of Aboriginal communities in biosecurity pest and weed management
  • review the governance arrangements and structure of the State and regional committee system responsible for pest and weed management.

The powers of the Commissioner are significant and necessary to deliver on the intent and purpose of the role. The Commissioner may require a government agency or State-owned corporation involved in pest or weed management or the care, control, or management of land to provide documents and information.

The Commissioner will report annually to Parliament on their work and the opportunities for improvement in controlling invasive species.

The Government is expediting the recruitment process for this critical position and advertisements to attract top applicants will be posted very soon.

Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said:

The NSW Government has delivered on our election commitment to do more to effectively manage invasive species pests and weeds, after listening to farmers and land holders about the issues they are facing.

I am pleased to invite leaders in this area to start preparing their applications for the role of the Independent Biosecurity Commissioner.

This is a critically important and challenging role, reporting directly to me as the Minister for Agriculture, providing the expertise and transparency necessary to address the challenges posed by invasive species pest and weed management across the state.

We know that biosecurity risks present the most significant threat to our primary industries sector – as well as our environment and communities. Instances of biosecurity matters are rising in volume, complexity and severity.

The Commissioner will engage with a wide range of stakeholders from across Government, industry and the broader community and promote their coordination and collaboration to address the challenges of pests and weeds management.

MEDIA: Alastair Walton | Minister Moriarty | 0418 251 229