Work program

Work program

Inspector-General of Biosecurity: 2019–22 review plan

Background

The Inspector-General of Biosecurity (Inspector-General), Mr Rob Delane commenced in the role on 25 July 2019 for a 3-year term and developed (and published) a review program as required under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act). The Act specifies that the Inspector-General may review the performance of functions, or exercise of powers, by biosecurity officials, including the Director of Biosecurity, who is the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department). This review program is over and above the department’s internal audit and verification programs.

The initial review program was informed by consultations with the department’s executives and key stakeholder representatives, who identified key strategic topics for consideration for review during the Inspector-General’s term of appointment.

Initial review topics were selected with the assumption that further topics might be identified; that the topics and scope might be modified as further consultation proceeds; and that further reviews might be required as external needs arise, including the requests for specific reviews by the Minister and/or the Director of Biosecurity.

The indicative 3-year work program was presented to the then Minister for Agriculture and the Director of Biosecurity in October 2019. In February 2020, the Inspector-General readjusted the scope of one of the reviews, listed for completion during 2020‒21, to include a major review, Adequacy of department’s operational model to effectively mitigate biosecurity risks in evolving risk and business environments.

Due to major changes to the relevant policy, the Inspector-General resolved to not proceed with a review initiated by the former Inspector-General, A review of the Department of Agriculture’s recognition of pre-border certification (including the role of overseas competent authorities) as a biosecurity risk mitigation measure.

Completed reviews (2019–20)

Review topic Adequacy of preventative border measures to mitigate the African swine fever risk entering Australia
Scope This review considered the department's pre-border and at-border measures to prevent entry of ASF-infected material into Australia (for example, pork and pork products, and fomites)
Status A review report was published in March 2020.
Document Release date File size
Adequacy of preventative border measures to mitigate the risk of African swine fever 23 March 2020 Word [1.04 MB, 75 pages]
PDF [1.6 MB, 84 pages]

 

Review topic Biosecurity risk management of international express airfreight pathway for non-commercial consignments
Scope This review considered how the department:
  • profiles, assesses, targets, screens and inspects high-risk international express freight,
  • undertakes ‘leakage survey’ to ascertain ‘residual risk’, and
  • applies mitigation measures to reduce evolving biosecurity risks.
Status A review report was published in July 2020.
Document Release date File size
Biosecurity risk management of international express airfreight pathway for non-commercial consignments 3 July 2020 Word [3.2 MB, 84 pages]
PDF [1.9 MB, 96 pages]

Completed reviews (2020–21)

Review topic Adequacy of department’s operational model to effectively mitigate biosecurity risks in evolving risk and business environments
Scope

This review examined the appropriateness of the department’s biosecurity operational model to deliver risk mitigation functions and regulatory actions for effective risk-based preventative biosecurity outcomes.

Status A review report was published in February 2021.
Document Release date File size
Adequacy of department’s operational model to effectively mitigate biosecurity risks in evolving risk and business environments 19 February 2021 Word [2.3 MB, 89 pages]
PDF [2.5 MB, 105 pages]

 

Review topic Confidence testing for at-border delivery of critical human biosecurity functions – Ruby Princess cruise ship incident
Scope

This review:

  • focused on critical areas identified in the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise liner incident
  • examined areas for improvement in the way the department delivers its biosecurity functions, with particular focus on:
    • awareness of the department’s responsibilities and that of other agencies it delivers biosecurity functions for
    • communication and interaction with other agencies
    • policies, protocols, systems and processes in place to support biosecurity officers in the discharge of their responsibilities at the border.
Status A review report was published in April 2021.
 
Document Release date File size
Confidence testing for at-border delivery of critical human biosecurity functions – Ruby Princess cruise ship incident 29 April 2021 Word [3.0 MB, 182 pages]
PDF [2.8 MB, 205 pages]

Priority review topics for completion in 2021–22

Subject to available resources, the following reviews will be completed during 2021‒22.

Review topic Accountable implementation of Inspectors-General recommendations (2015‒2021) and developing a framework for future implementation accountability
Scope

This review will:

  1. summarise the extent of the department’s response to Inspectors-General recommendations since the passing of the Biosecurity Act 2015, including the current status of recommendations
  2. examine the apparent impediments to timely completion of pending recommendations
  3. provide a roadmap for implementation of pending recommendation, including the development of an indicative accountability framework

Note: The review will use the following case studies to evaluate the level of integration and sustainability of response measures:

  • uncooked prawns import
  • exotic/ornamental fish import
  • preventing the entry of exotic vector mosquitoes

 

Review topic Department’s readiness to effectively mitigate risks of entry into Australia of the serious plant disease Xylella fastidiosa
Scope

This review will consider key preventative biosecurity measures, including:

  1. preventative measures to monitor international pest prevalence, risk pathways (likely entry routes) and the adequacy and agility of preventative biosecurity controls
  2. the balance of focus on pest-specific risk assessment and operational pathway threat and vulnerability assessment
  3. scientific and technological capabilities to provide rapid specialist support to frontline biosecurity officers

 

Review topic Robustness of biosecurity measures to prevent entry and establishment of Khapra beetle in Australia
Scope

This review will be completed in two phases and will consider:

  1. pre-border preventative measures to examine international pest prevalence and risk pathways (likely entry routes into Australia), and the adequacy and agility of at border preventative biosecurity controls
  2. the adequacy of:
    1. focus on pest-specific risk assessment
    2. operational pathway threat and vulnerability assessments, scientific and technological capabilities to provide rapid specialist support to frontline biosecurity officers
    3. the department’s actions to address the identified weaknesses in at border biosecurity measures to prevent potential entry into and establishment of Khapra beetle in Australia.
Note: The initial phase of the review will consider the department’s assessments/ reviews, reports, and briefings about recent Khapra beetle interceptions/border breaches, and resultant preventative biosecurity improvements. An assessment will then be made about the timing for completion of a detailed review report. The review will not examine any post-border preparedness and response aspects to Khapra beetle incursions

 

Review topic Efficacy and adequacy of department’s X-ray scanning and detector dog screening techniques to prevent entry of biosecurity risk material into Australia
Scope

This review will examine:

  1. the status and performance (efficacy) of the department’s current strategies and scanning technologies deployed at the border to intercept prohibited goods and biosecurity risk materials across major entry routes
  2. recent developments in X-ray scanning technology, its application by governments and businesses, and potential opportunities for adoption in co-regulatory arrangements by relevant industries
  3. the status and performance of the department’s detector dog program, including comparisons with other detector dog programs within Australia and elsewhere

Note: The 2021‒22 Review Program may be readjusted:

  • in accordance with the availability of resources needed to complete the listed reviews
  • Inspector-General’s agreement to initiate any additional reviews that may be requested by either the Minister for Agriculture or the Director of Biosecurity.
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