A NSW Government website

Biosecurity Risks

Biosecurity is important for protecting the economy, environment and communities from the negative impacts associated with pests, diseases, weeds and invasive species. The combined cost of invasive species across Australia exceeds $13.5 billion annually in terms of management, control and economic losses. Of this, the costs associated with managing weeds are around $1.8 billion annually, and the economic losses associated with pest animals are around $170 million.

The biosecurity risks selected were based on their presence in NSW, except for the oriental fruit fly (a test case for an exotic species) and serpentine leaf miner (included after an incursion led to it becoming established in NSW). The selection represents a range of pests and diseases deemed to be of considerable concern to the relevant terrestrial commodities in NSW. This work could be expanded with further resourcing to cover other endemic risks to primary industries, including marine pests and other exotic species not yet detected in NSW or Australia.

Climate Vulnerability Assessments

For Biosecurity Risks, the following were selected:

Crop diseases

  • Sclerotinia stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)
  • Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae)
  • Wheat stem rust (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici)
  • Wheat stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici)

Horticultural pests

  • Oriental fruit fly* (Bactrocera dorsalis)
  • Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni)
  • Serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis)

Invasive weeds

  • Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus)
  • Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma)

Livestock parasites

  • Barber’s pole worm† (Haemonchus contortus)
  • Biting midge†‡ (Culicoides brevitarsis)
  • Sheep Blowfly† (Lucilia cuprina)
  • Buffalo fly (Haematobia exigua)
  • Cattle tick† (Rhipicephalus microplus)

* not currently in NSW, potential future impact

† results to be released in late 2024

‡ vector for Blue Tongue disease


The Climate Vulnerability Assessment assessed the historical and future climate suitability for each biosecurity risk across NSW. These assessments considered the change in suitability between the historical (1981-2010) and future time periods (2036-2065), reported separately for the two emissions scenarios.

Maps of historical and future climate suitability for biosecurity risks were produced to demonstrate where in the state a risk is likely to thrive or else be limited by future climatic conditions. The maps are not provided on these webpages but can be found in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Summary Report. The factsheets below provide the results by discussing the important impacts and providing interpretation of the drivers of changed suitability.

Care should be taken when interpreting these results. The Climate Vulnerability Assessment is intended to highlight potential changes in future climate suitability at industry and regional levels. It should not be interpreted at the scale of individual holdings.

Due to the large number of outputs, not all results have been provided at this stage but will appear in individual results reports. Biosecurity risk results reports will be released in 2024. Register your interest in receiving a copy by contacting vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au.


Wheat stripe rust factsheet

PDF, 2071.45 KB


The Climate Vulnerability Assessment required a modelling approach that could be rapidly and consistently applied to different commodities and biosecurity risks to produce consistent and comparable models. To this end, a framework was developed which combined research literature, expert industry knowledge and climate data in a modelling approach known as ‘multi-criteria analysis’. The resulting models were used to evaluate the suitability of NSW’s climate for chosen commodities and biosecurity risks. The general assumptions for biosecurity risk multi-criteria analysis models were:

  • a specific organism is described,
  • susceptible host animals, plants or environment are present,
  • a ‘green bridge’ is available where required for pathogen survival between seasons, and
  • there is no treatment or control of the disease, pest, weed or parasite.

A monthly timescale approach was used for all biosecurity risks, with each life stage assessed separately for all months. Overall climate suitability for the risk was assessed alongside monthly suitability for each life stage to determine which months are likely to pose the greatest risk to host commodities. This approach highlights the risks where both an increase and a decrease in suitability are likely.

For more information on the methodology and data used in the climate vulnerability assessments, please take a look at either the methodology summary page or, for an in-depth explanation, the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology Report.


NSW Department of Primary Industries (2017) New South Wales State of Biosecurity Report 2017.

AAS, Australian Academy of Sciences (2019). Australia’s silent invaders.

Contact us

For more information, please get in touch with vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au