​Media Release

Historic Biosecurity Bill 2014 achieves passage through Senate

13 May 2015

Today marks an incredibly significant milestone in the biggest overhaul to Australia’s biosecurity system in over 100 years, with new biosecurity legislation passing the Senate.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the Biosecurity Bill 2014, passed by the Senate today will manage biosecurity risks in a modern and flexible way, and support Australia’s biosecurity system.

“The biosecurity system underpins and protects Australia’s $52 billion agricultural industries, safeguarding our people and our unique environment,” Minister Joyce said.

“The new legislation is an important part of deciding on the future of Australia’s biosecurity system. It will protect our vital agricultural industries and underpin the capacity for our nation to produce and export the highest quality, clean and sustainably produced soft commodities to the world.

“The Biosecurity Bill replaces the 107 year old Quarantine Act 1908 which was written in a completely different world, when today’s trade pathways were not even conceived. This reform is well and truly overdue given that the existing Quarantine Act 1908 has been amended more than 50 times over the years.

Minister Joyce said that the Coalition Government worked diligently and cooperatively with the Opposition and the cross-bench to ensure we could get this important reform through the Senate – after all Australia’s biosecurity system is too important to pla​y petty politics with.

“I would like to thank Senators from all sides of the chamber and key industry stakeholders for their scrutiny of, and contribution to the development of this legislation which has been more than six years in the making.

“I would also like to acknowledge the previous government for its foresight in commencing the development of this legislation and the current Opposition’s work on the Inspector-General of Biosecurity.

“Consequently, we have listened to the Opposition and industry, and updated the legislation to reflect the need for the Inspector-General of Biosecurity position to be enshrined in statute. The position of the Inspector-General was never under threat in the government’s proposed Bill however a statutory position is what was asked for, and that is what we have delivered.

“My department has worked with more than 400 organisations over recent years representing a vast range of sectors to consult on the design and development of this new legislation, which is over 630 pages long, and modernises complex regulatory provisions and administrative practices.

“It is estimated the compliance costs on supply chain and logistics, cargo, ports, customs brokers, importers, peak industry bodies, petroleum/exploration stakeholders and primary producers will be reduced by approximately $6.9 million per year because of clearer, easier to use legislation and the improved processes it will enable,” Minister Joyce said.

“The Bill will now enter the House of Representatives for debate in the winter sitting of Parliament.”

For more information on the Bill and supporting legislation, visit agriculture.gov.au/biosecuritylegislation or subscribe to the Biosecurity Bill 2014 subscription list at agriculture.custhelp.com​.