The Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis (BIRA) process contributes to the protection of Australia from exotic pest and disease associated with imported goods. Import conditions are determined by the BIRA based on the level of biosecurity risk associated with the particular product and its source. The BIRA is initially undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), and includes stakeholder consultation to address biosecurity issues associated with the trade or proposed importation of agricultural goods. In the BIRA process, stakeholder consultation plays a critical role in identifying regional pest and disease status and highlighting information about the nature of the pest or industry, which may influence the risk analysis. Government and non-government stakeholders work in partnership to address biosecurity matters, which could change local primary producers, industries, and communities. Through this partnership, stakeholders can influence quarantine policies, including domestic market access.
As part of the stakeholders' consultation process, Biosecurity Queensland (BQ), within the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), prepares a departmental response to BIRA reports. BQ first reviews draft BIRA documents, and then engages related plant industries for consultation to ensure their representation in the process. Appropriate scientific and technical experts within the DAF collate contributor comments, and coordinate meetings to discuss issues of concern with the contributors. A response is then submitted to DAWR on behalf of Queensland. The DAF response process is extensive, and often there are challenges in preparing a BIRA report. Some of the issues discussed in the presentation will include providing thorough analysis under short timelines, undertaking effective stakeholder consultation, negotiating points of contention, and addressing uncertainties.