Plant Biosecurity Legislation
DPI manages Victorian plant biosecurity issues in partnership with industry, with the objectives of:
- minimising disruptions to plant production and market access from biosecurity incidents
- facilitating trade of plant products to local, interstate and overseas markets.
These objectives are supported by Victorian Government legislation.
Plant biosecurity orders enable actions aimed at meeting these objectives.
Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 and Plant Biosecurity Regulations 2012
Following a comprehensive review of plant biosecurity legislation (in consultation with industry), a new Act, the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010, replaces the existing Plant Health and Plant Products Act 1995 (PHPP Act) from 1 July 2012.
The new Act aims to:
- prevent the entry of plant pests and diseases into Victoria
- manage and control the spread of plant pests and diseases within Victoria
- enhance market access for plants and plant products in local, interstate and overseas markets.
Similarly, new Plant Biosecurity Regulations 2012 replace the existing Plant Health and Plant Products Regulations 2006 from 1 July 2012.
The new Regulations aim to:
- prevent the spread of grape phylloxera and potato cyst nematode to uninfested parts of Victoria
- prevent the spread of plant pests or diseases from declared restricted areas
- assist in responses to pests or disease detections in grapevines by prescribing Property Identification Codes for grapevine properties
- prescribe types of fruits for the purposes of traceability
- specify activities for which inspectors can charge fees
- prescribe offences under the Act which may be enforced by infringement notices and penalties.
The new Act and Regulations apply to all plants and plant products, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains, forests and timber, native flora and ornamental plants. They do not include weeds, which are covered under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
In general, it will be business as usual for those who operate according to the new Act and Regulations. Changes from the previous Act and Regulations are mainly related to improved responses to pest and disease detections (see below).
What are the key changes included in the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010?
Improving DPI’s capacity to respond pest and disease detections
Two definitions were amended to account for other potential carriers of a pest or disease:
- Earth material now covers soil, sand, gravel and rocks
- Used equipment now covers used agricultural, roadwork and earthmoving equipment.
The new Act also enables the DPI Secretary to make an Order declaring an infected place in the event of a detection of an exotic pest or disease. This will enable DPI to take prompt action to prevent the pest or disease from spreading to another location. The Order may remain in place for up to 21 days.
Property Identification Codes
The requirement for a person to apply for a Property Identification Code (PIC) has been included in the Act to improve DPI’s ability to contact and locate growers that may be impacted by a new pest or disease in a timely manner.
As the PIC provides for mapping capability, it will also assist in monitoring response activities. A plant must be prescribed in the Regulations to require a person to apply for a PIC.
Compliance and enforcement
The penalty levels for offences have been revised to be consistent with the Sentencing Act 1991.
To provide DPI with an alternative to taking a person to court or fining them for committing an offence, enforceable undertaking and adverse publicity Orders have been included.
The setting of fees and charges by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security has been modified to have the fees and charges converted to fee units, which reflects government guidelines.
The fee unit is set each year by the Treasurer and the fee unit for 2012/13 is $12.53. After 1 July 2012, the fees and charges for services provided by inspectors increase by a small amount. See the Biosecurity fees - Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 section under Biosecurity fees and charges.
What are the key changes included in the Plant Biosecurity Regulations 2012?
Property Identification Codes
A new regulation was added to prescribe plants for the purpose of establishing Property Identification Codes (PICs) in accordance with section 15 of the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010.
Grapevines are the first plant type to be prescribed for the purposes of PICs. From 1 July 2012, a person who grows 0.5 or more hectares of grapevines is required to apply for a PIC. See Property Identification Codes for Victorian plant industries.
Other crops will be added to the Regulations following consultation with and support from other plant industries.
Regulation 13 - Prescribed fruit and vegetables for marking locality
Seven kinds of fruit have been added to Schedule 2 for the purposes of labelling requirements under section 46(3)(b) of the Act. These fruits are achachairu, boysenberry, goji berry, Jew plum, ju jube, peacharine and santol.
Regulation 16 – Offences and infringement penalties
A number of offences under the Act, and one under the Regulations, are offences for which an infringement notice may be served. Please refer to Schedule 4 of the Plant Biosecurity Regulations 2012 or see the Biosecurity Victoria Penalties - Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 section under Biosecurity fees and charges
For more information on the new Act and Regulations, please email:
Rowena Giles, Senior Policy Officer, Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity or
Bruce Mackie, Legislation and Licensing Coordinator, Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity
or phone the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.Copies of the Act and Regulations can be downloaded from www.legislation.vic.gov.au