Exercise Border Bridge is an exercise program that will assess how New South Wales and Queensland can respond to a biosecurity incident occurring across both jurisdictions. The scenario will be based on a pest and disease incursion - one which affects livestock and the other will be a threat to plant production industries.
There will be several activities held in late 2017 in the lead up to the main exercise which will be in March 2018 in Toowoomba, QLD. The main exercise will involve running a Joint Control Centre in Toowoomba, and State Coordination Centres in Orange, NSW and Brisbane, QLD.
The focus of the exercise will be the use of legislation, IT systems and existing arrangements to respond to the biosecurity incident. Both NSW and QLD have recently introduced new biosecurity legislation so the exercise provides an opportunity to assess how it will be implemented in a cross border scenario.
It is important that the community is aware that these are exercises only, and not activities being conducted in response to a real pest or disease incursion.
This will be 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.
It will also integrate the National Biosecurity Response Team. This team is 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.
This exercise program is an important part of government and industry’s preparedness to respond effectively and efficiently to biosecurity emergencies. It will help us better prepare for pest and disease incursions that have the potential to damage Australia’s food and fibre production industries.
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.
The objectives to be achieved by conducting this exercise include: