Implementation of the biosecurity legislative framework

24 Jan 2017

Audit objective and criteria

The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ implementation of the new biosecurity legislative framework.

To form a conclusion against this objective, the ANAO adopted the following high-level criteria:

  • Was a robust governance and project management framework in place to support implementation of the new framework?
  • Was the development of delegated legislation, administrative practice and business processes, effective and timely?
  • Did the engagement with internal and external stakeholders support the transition to the new framework?


The arrangements established by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources effectively supported the implementation of the new biosecurity legislative framework in accordance with legislated timeframes.

A sound planning approach, governance structure and assurance review program was established by the department to support the implementation of the biosecurity legislative framework. Nevertheless, issues relating to the delayed establishment of the Board and weaknesses in performance reporting adversely impacted on oversight and monitoring arrangements. While the framework commenced operating on 16 June 2016 as required by legislation, more effective oversight and monitoring would have better positioned the department to deliver framework elements as originally planned. Further, there is scope for the department to review its approach to assessing the benefits to be derived from the new legislative framework.

The arrangements established by the department to support the operation of the new biosecurity legislative framework from 16 June 2016, including the development of policy and delegated legislation, creation of instructional material and the delivery of training for staff, implementation of IT system modifications and engagement with stakeholders, were, in the main, effective. There were, however, delays encountered in finalising a number of key activities, which ultimately reduced the time available to deliver important elements of the program, such as aspects of stakeholder engagement and IT system modifications. These delays also led to the reprioritisation of some implementation activities, including instructional material and IT changes, with delivery to occur in latter stages.

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