Biosecurity, a shared responsibility

Biosecurity is the protection of the economy, environment and community from the negative impacts of pests and diseases, weeds and contaminants. On 1 July 2017, the way government, industry and the community manage biosecurity in NSW changed.

Why is biosecurity important?

Biosecurity is important because it protects our economy, environment and community from pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants.

Increased global trade, recreational travel and population are some of the factors contributing to increased biosecurity risks. The risks can impact market access both internationally and domestically, the supply of safe food, biodiversity and our social amenity.

In NSW we have over 39,000 agricultural businesses, 42,000 farms and 66,000 people employed in agriculture sector alone. This provides a contribution of over $14 billion to the NSW economy, helping to secure regional growth and deliver on health and education outcomes.

Biosecurity is also important in our environment. Over 39 million people visit our 850 national parks and reserves each year. There are more than 350 species, populations and communities considered to be threatened by the impacts of pest animals across NSW, impacting on the quality of the experience for visitors.

Not only is biosecurity vital for industry, it allows us to enjoy our unique natural landscapes and environments that are the envy of many.

  • Video 1: Scott Hansen, Director General, NSW DPI, provides some comments on what biosecurity means to DPI and our partners.
  • Video 2: The importance of biosecurity in sustaining Aboriginal culture and heritage

One of the core principles of the new Act is that biosecurity is a shared responsibility - we all need to do our bit to protect the economy, environment and community from biosecurity threats. A key management tool as part of this shared responsibility is the general biosecurity duty.

Good biosecurity practices benefit business through increased access to premium markets around the globe, improved efficiencies and yield and decreased costs of production. Biosecurity benefits our environment and community through supply of healthy safe food; recreational access to the State’s natural resources, minimising the risk to native flora and fauna and protection of assets and infrastructure.

  • Video 3: Pauline Freeth of Central West Poultry gives her views on why biosecurity is important and what measures she has in place to protect her business.
  • Video 4: Reg Kidd, Brendan Ostini (Ravecchia Poll Merino Stud) and Allan Dawson (Winyar Merino Stud) have their say on biosecurity, what it means to them and what they are doing on their land.
  • Video 5: James Sweetapple from Cargo Road Wines talks about measures he has in place to protect his business and how he educates visitors about the importance of biosecurity.

Farm biosecurity practices protect farm properties from the entry and spread of pests, diseases and weeds. A farm biosecurity plan can help you to identify the risks on your farm and prioritise the biosecurity practices relevant to those risks.

Information on how to develop a farm management plan can be found at Farm Biosecurity.

  • Video 6: Bernard Hall, Caernarvon Orchard and BiteRiot, discusses why biosecurity is important to his business and what measures he has in place to protect his property from biosecurity risks.
  • Video 7: Bryan Jones discusses the biosecurity risks associated with bore drilling and the way he manages those risks

The development of the new Biosecurity Act, regulations, policies and procedures has included collaboration with other government at the federal, state and local level, technical experts, advisory groups, industry stakeholders and the broader community.

DPI are continuing to work closely with industry, community, government and other key advisory groups across the biosecurity spectrum to develop education material and practical tools to help you to manage the biosecurity risks for your business, community and industry.

Video 8: Good biosecurity practices at Sydney markets

See: Biosecurity Fact Sheets page

The equine influenza outbreak in 2007 is estimated to have cost government and industry $5.1 million  per day. Horse racing across NSW was cancelled (including the Sydney Spring carnival) resulting in huge financial loss to the horse racing industry. There were associated losses for many small businesses including cafe and restaurant owners, taxi drivers and milliners.

The movement of horses across NSW was banned, adversely impacting NSW's horse breeding industry, pony clubs and our Olympic equestrian team.

  • Video 9: Bruce Christie, Deputy Director General, Biosecurity and Food Safety provides a practical viewpoint of what shared responsibility means for the community, industry and government and relays the story of an actual biosecurity event as well as the potential implications of a biosecurity event.

To maintain the state’s strong reputation and desirable lifestyle we need to work together to manage biosecurity risks.  Together we can work with the biosecurity framework to achieve a stronger and more flexible system which will benefit us all. Your questions and feedback about managing biosecurity in NSW are always welcome. You can contact DPI’s Biosecurity team via email biosecuritylegislation@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

  • Video 10: Rachel Eagles talks about ways she manages biosecurity risks at her dairy farm at Gooloogong.

Biosecurity isn’t just about farmers and livestock – you might be surprised at how biosecurity applies to urban areas as well. For example, you might consider buying seeds online for an urban garden – but you should consider the risks when buying seeds from interstate or online. You could unwittingly be importing a pest plant.

Or perhaps you’re getting rid of organic waste from a fish tank – but did you know some popular aquarium plants are highly invasive species, and pose significant risks to waterways? Aquarium waste should go in the bin, not sewers or waterways.

Have you ever had a weekend away camping, hiking or fishing? You should check to make sure you’re not transporting seeds or bugs on your vehicle, clothing, boots or equipment.