The Biosecurity Act 2015 came into effect on 16 June 2016 to replace the Quarantine Act 1908 as the primary piece of biosecurity legislation in Australia.
The new legislation provides UNSW Sydney with the opportunity to centralise the management of all Biosecurity sites with one annual licence fee to cover multiple Approved Arrangements.
To help protect Australia's unique environment from unwanted pests and diseases, the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources regulates products imported into Australia. You can use the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON) to determine whether the goods intended for import into Australia:
- is permitted
- is subject to import conditions
- requires supporting documentation
- requires treatment
- needs an import permit
At UNSW Sydney, individual schools or research group apply directly to the Department for import permit . In most instances, your school or research group would already have an import permit to which you just need to add your material onto the goods list. Contact your group's head or school's administration staff for details. If not, email us at email@example.com for details.
Your materials' import permit would indicate whether you need to store and handle the materials under an Approved Arrangement (AA).
Previously called Quarantine Approved Premises, AAs are understood as contracts between the organisation and the Department that allow the organisation to manage the biosecurity risks arised from the materials at their specific premises, facilities, equipment and people.
At UNSW Sydney, application for new Approved Arrangement and its subsequent monitoring inspections are managed by RECS. The application process is time-consuming and involve multiple site inspections, hence, you should contact us as soon as it is determined that you need a new Approved Arrangement and ideally prior to your facility's construction or refurbishment. Alternatively, we may be able to connect you with currently active AAs depending on your materials' import conditions and those AAs' availability.
The following flowchart summarises the workflow for certification of a new Approved Arrangement.
Depending on your materials' biosecurity risks and the proposed activities, you may be required to handle your imported material under specific class of Approved Arrangement. Some of the common Approve Arrangement classes are listed below. Click on the header for more information.
- Used for research, analysis and/or testing of imported biological material including micro-organisms, animals and human products and soil. This type of site includes microbiological facilities, animal facilities and plant laboratories
- Depending on the biosecurity risks to humans, animals or plants, Class 5 AAs is further divided into 4 biosecurity containment levels, from lowest risk (5.1) to highest (5.4)
- Facility that is under Class 5 AA of higher containment level must also meet requirements of all lower containment levels. As such, AA of biosecurity containment level 5.3 must meet requirements of level 5.2 and 5.1
- Used for holding imported animals
- Depending on the biosecurity risks associated with the animal spread outside the site and its impact on the environment as the consequence, Class 7 AA is further divided into 12 subclasses
For each of the AA subclass, there's a guidelines of requirements to obtain & maintain approval, it is important to download these documents and go through the check list in preparation for the site audits. The Department might decide to amend these guidelines without notice, please refer to the Department's website for the most updated information: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/arrival/arrangements/requirements
Biological goods are goods that contain or are made using any material originating from an animal, plant or microbial (including viral) source. Research materials imported using and Import Permit are subject to conditions of use. This may include restrictions on how the imported materials may be used (e.g. for in vitro use only) or the species that may be exposed to the imported materials (e.g. approved for use in laboratory species such as guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, rabbits or microorganisms only).
In planning for research projects, it is important that researchers identify all biological material they intend to use and whether the material has been imported into Australia. Researchers must familiarise themselves with all conditions of use on imported biological goods prior to commencement of their research project. This includes materials sourced from a commercial supplier or research colleague in Australia. Conditions on use apply to imported biological materials even after the importer has sold the material or shared the material with another entity in Australia.
If it hasn't been included in your original import permit conditions, you need to apply to the Department for a separate applications for In Vivo Approval (IVA) in order to conduct in vivo study of the imported biologicals. Please contact us for more details.
Certain biological agents have the potential to pose significant risks to Australia, either by providing risks through terrorism or by posing infectious disease risks for the Australian public or plants and animals. These agents are called Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBAs) and are administered through the Australian Government Department of Health via the SSBA Regulatory Scheme
For information on the SSBA Regulatory Scheme and a current list of SSBAs please visit the Department of Health SSBA website. Please contact Dr Ted Rohr, Director Research Ethics & Compliance Support,by T: 02 9385 4235 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org if you consider to conduct research involving SSBAs.