Biosecurity and quarantine

Biosecurity and quarantine


To help protect the Australian environment from unwanted pests and disease, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) (formerly Department of Agriculture, prior to that AQIS) regulates products imported into Australia. The importation of some products is, by law, subject to certain biosecurity import conditions. Investigators have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015 when dealing with quarantine status material.

Investigators wishing to import material from overseas should determine whether they require an Import Permit from DAWR. The DAWR BICON system will identify whether your items require an Import Permit. DAWR have also provided a Frequently Asked Questions about biological products webpage that may assist you with import procedures. Some quarantine status material must be stored or dealt with approved arrangement sites (AAS). See certified laboratories for further information on AASs at Macquarie University.

To handle quarantine status material and work within any of the Universities AASs, you must undertake online Accredited Person training which is offered directly from the DAWR website and complete a Fit and Proper Persons Self Declaration. Investigators must ensure that all personnel involved in the handling of quarantine status material have undergone this training. Investigators must also ensure that at all times their work with quarantine status materials complies with the specific conditions listed on their DAWR Import Permit and that all the mandatory records, labelling and evidence of disposal are maintained.

Security sensitive biological agents (SSBAs)

The deliberate release of harmful biological agents has the potential to cause significant damage to human health, the environment and the Australian economy. In accordance with the National Health Security Act 2007, a scheme has been implemented by the Department of Health for the regulation of security sensitive biological agents.  The aim is "to give effect to Australia's obligations to establish controls for the security of certain biological agents that could be used as weapons".

SSBAs are highly regulated, therefor if you wish to start work with SSBAs, please ensure you notify the IBC as soon as possible. You and your staff may need to undergo assessment of criminal history and your facility may need to be upgraded to ensure the security and containment of the SSBA.

List of SSBAs

The regulation of Tier 1 agents commenced on 31stJanuary 2009 and the regulation of Tier 2 agents commenced on 31stJanuary 2010.

Tier 1 agentsTier 2 agents
Abrin (reportable quantity 5 mg)African swine fever virus
Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax - virulent strains)Capripoxvirus
(Sheep pox virus and Goat pox virus)
Botulinum toxin (reportable quantity 0.5 mg)Classical swine fever virus
EbolavirusClostridium botulinum
(Botulism; toxin-producing strains)
Foot-and-mouth disease virusFrancisella tularensis (Tularaemia)
Highly pathogenic influenza virus, infecting humansLumpy skin disease virus
MarburgvirusPeste-des-petits-ruminants virus
Ricin (reportable quantity 5 mg)Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid)
Rinderpest virusVibrio cholerae (Cholera)
(serotypes O1 and O139 only)
SARS coronavirusYellow fever virus (non-vaccine strains)
Variola virus (Smallpox)
Yersinia pestis (Plague)
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