Acknowledgements regarding roles and responsibilities in preparing for and responding to outbreaks
The parties acknowledge that:
the states and territories bear primary responsibility for the emergency management of outbreaks, including preparedness and emergency responses within their borders.
the Commonwealth assists the states and territories by
providing leadership in national biosecurity policy determination
providing a national coordinating role
supporting emergency responses to outbreaks through cost-sharing if they are of national significance and the other requirements in this agreement are met.
Commonwealth role in preparing for and responding to outbreaks
Commonwealth roles and responsibilities are to:
lead the determination of agreed national biosecurity policy in terms of responses to outbreaks or incidents
contribute to agreed national biosecurity incident responses, including cost-sharing
participating in, and providing national coordination for, decision-making processes for national biosecurity incident responses
coordinate the development and maintenance of cost-sharing arrangements in relation to national biosecurity incident responses with state and territory parties and private beneficiaries, as applicable
be responsible for managing the eradication of pests and diseases on Commonwealth land and in Commonwealth waters, and when they are subject to Commonwealth regulatory action
perform the shared roles outlined in clause (o).
State and Territory Party role in preparing for and responding to outbreaks
State and territory party roles and responsibilities are to:
enact and implement legislation and regulations to help reduce the impact of incidents of nationally significant pests and diseases
maintain preparedness arrangements, including capacity and capability, to enable timely emergency responses to incidents of nationally significant pests and diseases
participate in decision-making processes for national biosecurity incident responses
contribute to agreed, national biosecurity incident responses, including cost-sharing
regardless of whether an outbreak of a significant pest or disease is subject to a national biosecurity incident response or is being handled by a state or territory party
manage the eradication of significant pests and diseases within a state or territory party’s borders (including land and waters), where it is feasible and cost-effective
respond to outbreaks of significant pests and diseases where feasible and cost-effective
inform other jurisdictions and stakeholders of outbreaks of significant pests and diseases
participate in joint management activities where outbreaks occur across state and territory borders
perform the shared roles outlined in clause (o).
Shared roles in preparing for and responding to outbreaks
Commonwealth and state and territory party shared roles and responsibilities are to:
contribute to the national capacity to detect and identify pests and diseases
contribute to the national capacity and capability to respond to pests and diseases
contribute to capacity building in outbreak management, including education, training, research, information systems and other critical infrastructure
develop and implement appropriate standards, policies and procedures to reduce the impact of pests and diseases
increase government agency, industry and community awareness of, and engagement in, outbreak management and related issues
cooperate to engage industry in pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements and, where appropriate, negotiate contributions from private beneficiaries in accordance with this agreement, as part of preparedness activities and in advance of an emergency response
act in accordance with Australia’s international rights and obligations.
National approach to outbreaks of pests and diseases
Outline of the process for a national approach to a response
The parties agree to comply with the process set out below in the event of an outbreak of a potentially nationally significant pest or disease. Further details on some of the steps are contained in the following clauses. A flow chart summarising the steps in clause 5 is at . The process is as follows.
Step 1 If a party becomes aware of an outbreak, or has a reasonable suspicion of an incident of a potentially nationally significant pest or disease, it must use all reasonable endeavours to contain the pest or disease.
Step 2 The party must decide whether the confirmed or suspected outbreak can be managed through pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements.
At the same time, it must, at the very least, start to verify the outbreak and undertake a risk assessment, as per , if one is not already available. Once completed, the verification and risk assessment will further support the decision as to whether the outbreak can be managed through pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements.
If the party has concluded that the confirmed or suspected outbreak can be managed through pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements, the approach for dealing with the outbreak under those circumstances should be followed, in accordance with clause .
Step 3 If the party, or the relevant consultative committee (if managed under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements in step 2), has concluded that the confirmed or suspected outbreak cannot be managed through pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements, that party—now referred to as the notifying party as defined in clause 5.2—must formally notify the reporting point—as defined in clause 5.2(a)(iii)—about the outbreak in accordance with clause (c) as soon as it has a reasonable basis for doing so.
This must be done within 24 hours of step 1, including where step 2 has started but has not yet been completed.
Step 4 Upon notification from the reporting point, the parties will establish a National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee (NBMCC). The NBMCC confirms the outbreak and notifies all parties.
Step 5 A specific National Biosecurity Management Group (NBMG) will be convened on the request of any party or on the advice of the NBMCC.
Step 6 The NBMCC, with assistance from the notifying party, will provide advice, as early as possible, to the NBMG on the following:
confirmation that the outbreak cannot be managed under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements
if it is decided that the outbreak can be managed under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements, the affected parties will need to determine the appropriate course of action; or
if it is confirmed that the outbreak cannot be managed through pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements, continue with step 6 (b).
An assessment of whether the pest or disease is (i) of national significance (see ) and (ii) whether it is likely to be eradicable, and
if it is not both, the affected parties will need to determine the appropriate course of action; or
if it is both, request the notifying party to undertake further action, as outlined in step 7.
Step 7 If, based on this advice, the NBMG considers that the pest or disease is of national significance and that it should be subject to this agreement and is likely to be eradicable the notifying party must:
conduct a risk assessment, in accordance with , if it has not already done so
conduct a technical feasibility analysis, in accordance with
conduct a cost:benefit analysis, in accordance with
prepare a draft national biosecurity incident response plan, in accordance with
and submit each to the NBMCC for its consideration.
Each party must provide assistance to the notifying party in undertaking, in a timely manner, the tasks identified in step 7, including providing any relevant expertise and technical information.
Step 8 The NBMCC must prepare and submit advice on the assessment provided in accordance with step 7 to the NBMG.
The parties must assist the NBMCC in preparing its advice to the NBMG.
Step 9 The NBMG must determine whether or not to undertake a national biosecurity incident response and, in doing so, must consider advice provided by the NBMCC in accordance with steps 6 and 8 on:
the risk assessment (see )
whether the pest or disease is of national significance (see )
whether it is technically feasible and cost beneficial to mount a national biosecurity incident response (see )
whether a national biosecurity incident response is required in accordance with clause 5.3(k) and, if so, approve a national biosecurity incident response plan, including cost-sharing arrangements
whether any identified private beneficiary contributions will be sought, in accordance with clause 6.2(d).
Step 10 All NBMG members must agree to a national biosecurity incident response plan before the cost-sharing arrangements detailed therein can come into effect.
Emergency responses to be addressed under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements (step 2)
The parties agree that this agreement will not displace or replace any pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements.
If an emergency response to a pest or disease can be handled under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements the parties will agree to do so.
Notification of an outbreak of a pest or disease (steps 3 and 4)
The chief biosecurity officer, chief veterinary officer, chief plant health manager or equivalent in the jurisdiction in which the suspected outbreak of the pest or disease occurs will comprise the notifying party.
The notifying party must:
notify the reporting point, as defined in clause 5.1(c)(iii), of a confirmed or suspected outbreak of a nationally significant pest or disease within 24 hours of becoming aware of it
take reasonable steps to ensure that people within the affected jurisdiction advise the notifying party of an outbreak to enable it to notify the relevant reporting point within 24 hours.
The reporting point is a single point for reporting a confirmed or suspected an outbreak of a nationally significant pest or disease and comprises the Commonwealth’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Chief Plant Protection Officer and an equivalent environmental officer.
Once the NBMCC has confirmed the suspected outbreak it will notify all parties and the reporting point.
The eligible costs incurred by a party (claiming party) in relation to an outbreak that is or becomes the subject of a national biosecurity incident response will not be subject to cost-sharing in accordance with this agreement unless:
the claiming party notified the reporting point in accordance with clause 5.1(c)(a); or
the NBMG determines, based on advice from the NBMCC, that the claiming party has acted appropriately and that, despite clause 5.1(c)(a) not having been complied with, eligible costs incurred by the claiming party more than 24 hours before the reporting point was notified of the outbreak, should be subject to cost-sharing.
NBMG to decide whether outbreak is of national significance and likely to be eradicable (step 7)
The NBMG must determine whether the pest or disease that is the subject of the outbreak is of national significance and likely to be eradicable.
In making the determination referred to in clause 5.2(c)(iii)5.3, the NBMG will:
consider the risk assessment prepared by the notifying party in accordance with and considered by the NBMCC
apply the national significance criteria (see )
consider the notifying party’s submission, and the NBMCC’s advice in accordance with step 6 of clause 5 on whether the outbreak is of national significance and likely to be eradicable.
Emergency responses that can be addressed under this agreement (step 7)
Based on advice from the NBMCC, the NBMG will consider whether a national biosecurity incident response could be implemented under this agreement and, where appropriate, the costs shared in accordance with clause 5.5(c). A national biosecurity incident response could be implemented if:
either the pest or disease is
a known pest or disease, or
a distinguishable variant form that is established, but not a new incidence of an established pest or disease, or
a pest or disease of unknown or uncertain origin, or
a pest or disease that is a potential threat to an area but is not yet present or widely distributed or being officially controlled, but is in such a fulminant form that an emergency response is required to ensure there is not a large-scale epidemic of regional and national significance or serious loss of market access
the pest or disease is not established or is established only to the extent that clause 6.5(a)(iv) applies; and
the NBMG determines that the emergency response cannot proceed under pre-existing cost-sharing arrangements in accordance with step 6 of clause 5; and
the NBMG determines that the outbreak is of national significance and likely to be eradicable in accordance with clause 5.2(c)(iii); and
the Commonwealth and one or more state or territory parties would share the eligible costs of the national biosecurity incident response.