How does the National System work?

The National System is a suite of measures aimed at:

  • preventing marine pests from arriving in Australian waters or spreading to new areas
  • providing a coordinated emergency response should a new pest arrive in Australian waters
  • controlling and managing marine pests already here, where eradication is not feasible.

The National System has three major aspects:

  1. Prevention – systems to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of marine pests, including management arrangements for ballast water and biofouling
  2. Emergency management – a national response mechanism to control or eradicate pests that do get in
  3. Ongoing management and control - management of marine pests already here, where eradication is not feasible.

There are also four supporting components:

  1. monitoring - ongoing national program to provide early detection of new pests
  2. communication - industry and community awareness and education
  3. research and development - targeted research to assist with development of policy and management measures
  4. evaluation and review - evaluating the effectiveness of the National System. 

Coordination of the National System

The measures and arrangements under the National System are being implemented by the Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (MPSC).

MPSC comprises representatives of the Australian Government, each state government and the Northern Territory government. Industry and environmental partners of the National System provide input through an industry consultation group. For a full list of representative organisations see National System partners.

The Committee chair rotates amongst the member jurisdictions and is currently provided by the Australian Government. The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides the MPSC Secretariat. 

The implementation of the National System is overseen by the National Biosecurity Committee.