The following Acts and their supporting instruments support the governance and administration of biosecurity and food safety in New South Wales.

Biosecurity Act 2015

On 1 July 2017, the way government, industry and the community manage biosecurity in NSW changed.

The Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act) came into effect on 1 July 2017.

The regulations, instruments, policies and procedures that underpin the Act were developed in consultation with industry, community and government partners.

The primary objective of the Act is to provide a framework for the prevention, elimination and minimisation of biosecurity risks.

Regulations made under the Biosecurity Act may specify actions that must be taken to prevent, eliminate or minimise biosecurity risks posed or likely to be posed in relation to biosecurity matter, carriers or dealings. These are known as mandatory measures.

Mandatory measures may apply generally or in specified circumstances such as only to certain classes of people or in relation to certain activities. If mandatory measures apply to a particular dealing or activity then the relevant person must comply with those measures, regardless of whether they know or reasonably should know about the risks posed or likely to be posed.

In most cases, if a person complies with the relevant mandatory measures they will have discharged their general biosecurity duty. In some cases the mandatory measures may state the minimum actions that are required for the duty to be discharged, and that depending on the circumstances additional measures may be required.

A mandatory measure may be outcomes based or more prescriptive in nature. For example, a mandatory measure may require farm machinery to be free of weed seeds before being moved from a property. This approach gives individuals flexibility in how they achieve the outcome, while ensuring that the biosecurity risk is addressed. Alternatively the mandatory measure could require that specified parts of the machinery be washed with a high pressure hose, at a particular type of location or in a specified manner.

Mandatory measures may be prescribed to highlight particular risks and how they should be addressed. Industry will be given the opportunity to participate in the development of mandatory measures. By focusing on a desired outcome, mandatory measures can be a tool to engage industry, increase the awareness of shared responsibility and encourage innovation in how to prevent, eliminate or minimise a particular biosecurity risk.

If extensive or detailed requirements for a particular type of biosecurity matter, carrier or dealing are needed, the mandatory measures may refer to compliance with other documents. This could include a code of practice or set of procedures developed by an industry body or state or local government. Such a document would only be adopted if it was enforceable, reasonable and consistent with the government's commitment to red tape reduction.

By giving industry the opportunity to participate in development and by focusing on a required outcome, mandatory measures are a tool to engage industry, increase awareness of shared responsibility and provide opportunities for co-regulation.

In many cases there may be no need to prescribe exactly how a person is to discharge their general biosecurity duty. The person with the duty is best placed to decide what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to prevent, eliminate or minimise the particular biosecurity risk and should have the flexibility to make this decision.

Advisory material, industry standards and codes of practice are available to assist. Additionally, authorised officers can give guidance on appropriate ways to discharge a general biosecurity duty and in some cases may also issue a biosecurity direction providing detail about required actions.

General Biosecurity Duty

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 there is a general obligation on people to be aware of their surroundings and take action to prevent the introduction and spread of pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants. Read about the general biosecurity duty.

Policies and Procedures

We have developed a range of policies and procedures to underpin the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Factsheets on the Biosecurity Act 2015

We have prepared a suite of factsheets to support the Biosecurity Act 2015.