Exercise Border Bridge

About the exercise

Exercise Border Bridge is complete

Exercise Border Bridge was held in March 2018 and was designed to test how New South Wales and Queensland respond to a biosecurity emergency affecting both states. Exercise Border Bridge was the largest simulated biosecurity exercise in a decade and involved more than 260 participants from New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Biosecurity Queensland, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, as well as Australian plant and livestock industries.

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 had recently introduced new biosecurity legislation so the exercise provided an opportunity to assess the implementation of legislation in a cross-border scenario.

The scenario began with a simulated detection of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD). LSD is an infectious disease of cattle and buffalo. A simulated plant pest 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 with the aim of reflecting how a real-life emergency situation would evolve.

Evaluation and findings

Evaluation teams collected and collated over 1400 observations during the exercise. These observations and insights were used to develop the Joint Exercise Report (the Report).

The Report has been developed following extensive consultation and evaluation and has been reviewed by the jurisdictions involved in the exercise.

The Report identified that all objectives were met in part or full and that:

  • The incident management structures implemented were consistent with the Biosecurity Incident Management System
  • Exercise participants across the three centres showed a genuine willingness to work together, cooperate and solve problems
  • National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT) members effectively integrated into the response and provided positive contributions to problem solving, leadership and knowledge
  • Successful management and completion of the exercise design and planning was achieved through the participation of planning, writing, and logistics team members with appropriate skill sets

The Report makes 12 recommendations including opportunities to:

  • Improve training on systems, emergency response competencies and legislation (and its instruments)
  • Avoid use of unfamiliar IT systems in incidents
  • Provide facilities that are fit for purpose
  • Improve the overall management of large functional exercises.

NSW DPI and Biosecurity Queensland are now looking at addressing these recommendations and incorporating the recommendations into improvement and reform programs already underway.

Joint Exercise Report

The Report was released on 5 October 2018.

Exercise Border Bridge Joint Exercise Report
PDF, 1535.35 KB

Fact Sheet

Exercise Border Bridge fact sheet (PDF, 109.89 KB)