Transport clarity sought on NSW Biosecurity Bill

LBCA looks to head off threat of red tape and unwarranted petty enforcement

Transport clarity sought on NSW Biosecurity Bill
Niall Blair will face concerns from rural transporters.


Work health and safety (WHS) template for new New South Wales biosecurity legislation has caught the attention of the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA).

The WHS model is the framework for proposed chain of responsibility reform.

The Biosecurity Bill 2015 was introduced into the Legislative Council late last month and garnered little attention outside green groups and animal rights campaigners.

But, after examining the legislation, the LBCA is raising some issues with agriculture minister Niall Blair.

The body says the Bill "has the potential to impact on the road transport of agricultural produce in NSW" and use of the WHS model establishes new duties, investigative powers, emergency response measures and penalties.

The movement of some materials will be prohibited while others will be regulated.

 "While it appears that the movement of agricultural produce will be largely unaffected, the Bill does however include a new duty that will require transport operators to assess biosecurity risks and put measures in place to control them and report biosecurity risks when spotted," the LBCA tells members.

"The idea behind the new duty is that protecting biosecurity is a shared responsibility.

"While the LBCA generally agrees with the concept, there is some potential for unnecessary red tape and unwarranted petty enforcement activity to arise depending upon how the law is interpreted."

In his second reading speech, Blair pledged consultation on mandatory measures with industry bodies and parliamentary scrutiny for any regulations obtaining from the Bill.

There will be two categories of offence and resulting penalty.

"A category one offence is an offence that is committed intentionally or recklessly and attracts a higher penalty — up to $1.1 million for individuals or three years in jail — than a category two offence, which is a strict liability offence and can attract penalties up to $220,000 for individuals," Blair tells NSW parliament.

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