SmartBiosecurity: Australasian Plant Biosecurity Collaborative Science Institute

Investment Proposal

Extensive consultation and the publication of an independent research paper A sustainable and nationally coordinated plant biosecurity R,D&E system for Australia (authored by Mick Keogh of the Australian Farm Institute and Agriculture Commissioner of the ACCC) has demonstrated consensus from across industry, government and research stakeholders of the urgent need for a nationally coordinated, funded and enduring plant biosecurity RD&E system.

As part of its Commonwealth Agreement, the Plant Biosecurity CRC is contracted to develop an improved plant health RD&E system before the end of its term.

The SmartBiosecurity investment proposal achieves this goal. It will build upon the existing momentum and structures of the Plant Biosecurity CRC. It will make the most of the strengths of a shared resourcing model and overcome the weaknesses of a short-term CRC.

Download the full SmartBiosecurity proposal (pdf) and Download the SmartBiosecurity summary (pdf)

In addition to the full SmartBiosecurity proposal, PBCRC has developed a supplementary proposal for a revised SmartBiosecurity Centre, which expands the original proposal to cover animal biosecurity and aspects of aquatic biosecurity that are not covered under the Invasive Plant and Animal Committee. This proposal fulfils the national role of delivering science and innovation to the Animal and Plant Health Committees under the National Biosecurity Committee.

PBCRC believes a single entity, with significant new and replacement funding, should cover all biosecurity RD&E, particularly as new technologies and systems are being developed which are applicable to both plants and animals,  whether agricultural, environmental or aquatic. PBCRC has not undertaken further consultation with biosecurity stakeholders in 2017 on this supplementary proposal.

Download the SmartBiosecurity Centre supplementary proposal.


SmartBiosecurity, if supported, will:

  • maintain and further strengthen Australia’s competitive advantage in international trade of agricultural produce;

  • deliver enhanced biosecurity to all the plant-based industries, working in partnership with all stakeholders to avoid duplication;

  • deliver the technical expertise to inform policy, regulation and management;

  • develop the biosecurity professionals with globally recognised expertise necessary for a modern biosecurity system;

  • be a collaborative ‘shared responsibility’ model with $40 million per annum proposed from Commonwealth, States, industry and other partners equally;

  • deliver enhanced protection to our unique natural environment, overcoming the highly fragmented and irregular RD&E investment in environmental biosecurity; and

  • strengthen Australia’s position as a regional and world leader in biosecurity and supporting science.

Ongoing investment in plant biosecurity science must be prioritised; Australian agriculture cannot afford for it not to be.

Frequently asked questions

1.    What consultation was undertaken?

Significant and open consultation was undertaken over the last two years. You can view the process of consultation, public submissions and research paper A sustainable and nationally coordinated plant biosecurity R,D&E system for Australia here.

2.    Why is the Plant Biosecurity CRC progressing this initiative?

High quality, science based biosecurity is essential to protecting our environment, our agricultural productivity and access markets for agricultural products: the CRC finishes its term in June 2018 and its closure will leave a ‘gaping hole’ in our biosecurity system. Further, as part of its Commonwealth Agreement, the Plant Biosecurity CRC is contracted to develop an improved plant health RD&E system before the end of its term (which is 30 June 2018).

3.    How can I provide feedback or discuss this proposal?

Email the Plant Biosecurity CRC at, provide a comment below, or call Dr Michael Robinson, CEO on 02 6201 2882.

4.     What are the next steps?

PBCRC is encouraging all stakeholders to support plant biosecurity science – contact the government to show your support! PBCRC will continue the discussion with government and stakeholders, doing our best to ensure shared funding for plant biosecurity science continues.

5.    Who do I contact within Government to show my support for plant biosecurity RD&E?

Contact the following Federal Members of Parliament (links are to Parliamentary pages with contact details):

6.    How can I keep informed?

Sign up to Plant Biosecurity CRC’s monthly newsletter, The Leaflet, here.


Weak biosecurity research system risks Australian agriculture independent review warns

Momentum continues to build for a permanent national body to coordinate biosecurity research and innovation, following the release of the Draft Report of the independent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB).

The recommendations of the review panel are consistent with a Plant Biosecurity CRC proposal to establish such a body, concluding that “there is no lead agency, national prioritisation process or coordination for biosecurity research and innovation in Australia” and that “a new national entity for cross-sectoral biosecurity research and innovation would help provide leadership and coordination and better target investment.” Read more.

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