Individuals, industry and community groups will have the chance to help shape Australia's new Biosecurity Act with the Gillard Government releasing a draft Bill for comment.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the new Act will replace legislation that was first written in 1908.
“Australia’s biosecurity system is world-class. We need to update our legislation and create a flexible operating environment to make sure that remains the case into the future,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Our current Quarantine Act is a century old and while it’s served us well, this new legislation is needed to support safe and seamless transition of goods and services across Australia’s borders.
“The number of sea cargo containers arriving in Australia is predicted to grow from 3.1 million in 2011 to more than 5 million in 2020. International passenger movements are also expected to grow from around 14.7 million in 2011 to more than 18 million in 2015.
"Australia is changing with the times - so should our biosecurity system."
Minister Ludwig said this phase of consultation on of the Bill is open until 10 August 2012.
A dedicated interactive GovSpace website is available during the consultation period for interested parties to have their say on the new biosecurity Bill.
“The website includes the draft Bill, supporting documentation, information on the consultation process and how you can get involved," Minister Ludwig said.
“A blog gives any Australian with internet access the ability to join the conversation at a time that is convenient to them. People can also keep up-to-date with the latest news on Twitter by following #biosecurity.
“The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will also host community meetings and engage with representative biosecurity user groups, and receive written submissions.”
The Government expects final bills will be considered by a Parliamentary committee and debated in the Spring 2012 sitting of the Australian Parliament.
For more information on the new biosecurity legislation or to have your say visit biosecurity.govspace.gov.au