Exercise Border Bridge

About the exercise

Exercise Border Bridge is complete

Exercise Border Bridge is an exercise program that aims to assess how New South Wales and Queensland respond to a biosecurity incident occurring across both jurisdictions. The scenario was based on a pest and disease incursion - one which affected livestock and the other, a threat to plant production industries.

Several activities were held in late 2017 in the lead up to the main exercise which was held 5 - 9 March 2018 in Toowoomba, QLD. The main exercise involved running a Joint Control Centre in Toowoomba, and State Coordination Centres in Orange, NSW and Brisbane, QLD.

The focus of the exercise was the use of legislation, IT systems and existing arrangements, to respond to the biosecurity incident. Both NSW and QLD recently introduced new biosecurity legislation so the exercise also provided an opportunity to assess the implementation of each legislation in a cross-border scenario.

It is important that the community is aware that these were exercises only, and not activities being conducted in response to a real pest or disease incursion.

Exercise Evaluation Process

Exercise Border Bridge is an exercise program that ran from 5 – 9 March 2018. It was a scenario-based exercise that assessed the ability of Queensland and New South Wales to respond in the event of a biosecurity incident affecting both states.

Exercise Border Bridge was the largest simulated biosecurity response exercise in Australia in the past 10 years.
More than 260 people from across Australia participated in the exercise, including representatives from government and industry.  
Participants were based either in either the joint Local Control Centre (LCC) in Toowoomba (QLD) or State Coordination Centres (SCC) in Brisbane (QLD) and Orange (NSW).

The scenario was based on a disease and pest incursion – one which affects livestock and the other a threat to plant production industries.

The Exercise scenario began as an emergency response to the detection of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) on Queensland and New South Wales properties. LSD is an infectious disease of cattle and buffalo. A new plant pest scenario, Giant African Snail (GAS), commenced midway through the exercise to challenge participants with two very different emergencies at the same time.

At regular intervals, new challenges and tasks were provided to the participants – to reflect the way a real-life emergency situation would evolve.

Evaluation of the exercise is underway. Early findings have concluded:

  • All participants were dedicated and passionate and fully immersed themselves in the exercise as if in a real response.
  • There was a strong sense of teamwork throughout the week, with participants stepping up to help each other with tasks and share their knowledge and expertise, in order to complete the tasks that were set for them.
  • Facilities associated with the control centres, although at times crowded, largely meet the needs of those involved in the exercise.
  • Control centres were staffed with people from across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and industry. This worked well, with participants observed actively collaborating and seeking solutions to problems.

An Evaluation Team is busy collecting and collating feedback and observations from the exercise and will produce an evaluation report. Over 1400 observations have been recorded which will take some time to analyse and classify into themes, findings, lessons and recommendations. The Evaluation Report will contribute to a Joint Queensland and New South Wales Exercise Report.

Participants

Phase 2: Exercise, Joint LCC Toowoomba 65 Individuals. 90 Individuals SCC Orange. 60 Individuals SCC Brisbane. 45 Individuals ECC across Toowoomba, Brisbane & Orange. 206 Individuals involved in the exxercise

This was a large-scale exercise involving participants from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, as well as Australian plant and livestock industries.

The exercise also integrated the National Biosecurity Response Team, a trained group of government personnel from across Australia with the essential skills to respond to biosecurity incidents. They can be deployed into a jurisdiction where additional resources, or particular skill sets are needed.


Being better prepared

Preparedness: Plan, Assess, Learn, Improve

This exercise program is an important part of government and industry’s preparedness to respond effectively and efficiently to biosecurity emergencies. The exercise assists in better preparation for pest and disease incursions that have the potential to damage Australia’s food and fibre production industries.

Aim

The aim of this exercise is to advance Australia’s capability to respond to a nationally significant cross border biosecurity emergency and strengthen partnerships with biosecurity stakeholders.

Objectives

The objectives to be achieved by conducting this exercise include:

  • Assess the ability of NSW and QLD to jointly respond to a biosecurity incident that impacts both jurisdictions.
  • Assess each jurisdiction's ability to use their new biosecurity legislation in response to a cross border biosecurity incident.
  • Assess response requirements for a joint cross border biosecurity response.
  • Identify, explore and resolve issues associated with information management systems, technology and processes in a cross border biosecurity incident.
  • Assess ability of the National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT) to integrate and contribute to a cross border biosecurity response.

Exercise Border Bridge is an exercise program that aims to assess how New South Wales and Queensland respond to a biosecurity incident occurring across both jurisdictions. The scenario was based on a pest and disease incursion - one which affected livestock and the other, a threat to plant production industries.

Several activities were held in late 2017 in the lead up to the main exercise which was held 5 - 9 March 2018 in Toowoomba, QLD. The main exercise involved running a Joint Control Centre in Toowoomba, and State Coordination Centres in Orange, NSW and Brisbane, QLD.

The focus of the exercise was the use of legislation, IT systems and existing arrangements, to respond to the biosecurity incident. Both NSW and QLD recently introduced new biosecurity legislation so the exercise also provided an opportunity to assess the implementation of each legislation in a cross-border scenario.

Factsheet

There are currently no media releases.