Inaugural National Biosecurity Response Team induction
28 Nov 2017
The inaugural induction of the new National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT) was held in Brisbane, Queensland in October 2017. The NBRT are a group of trained and experienced personnel that may be deployed to assist a jurisdiction in response to biosecurity incidents. NBRT members are made up of personnel from government agencies with the knowledge, experience and training in emergency management, incident management or experience in responding to biosecurity incidents.
The NBRT replaces the former Rapid Response Team (RRT), which originally focused on responding to emergency animal diseases. Over time, a need to broaden the scope of the RRT to a cross-sectoral biosecurity resource was realised, which ultimately led to the formation of the NBRT.
The first three day workshop provided participants with an overview of the role and structure of the NBRT, responsibilities in preparing for, and responding to, biosecurity incidents, as well as an opportunity to develop networks within the NBRT, with one NBRT member commenting, “I feel more comfortable and less nervous about my role – lots to learn but a good support network seems to be available.”
Although the recent NBRT Induction workshop was the first of its type to be undertaken, the resulting feedback was positive, with participants stating that the aims and objectives of the workshop were met, if not exceeded, with one member stating how at ease they felt with a diverse range of people – “Brilliant – good to be in a room full of very capable, enthusiastic, experienced people.”
The NBRT is cross-sectoral and can deploy to respond to an animal, plant, aquatic or environmental biosecurity incident. The NBRT program is jointly funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, all state and territory governments, and is managed by Animal Health Australia. The Department of Agriculture and Water resources are responsible for the coordination of deploying the NBRT to biosecurity incidents.
As part of the NBRT, personnel are selected accordingly for their function (incident management, liaison management, public information, planning, operations, or logistics). New members undertake an induction program followed by annual professional development activities, which may include simulation exercises to ensure that their skills and knowledge are up-to-date.
The NBRT is an initiative that holds great significance given the invaluable role that the Australian agriculture industry plays in the national economy. The continual development, revision and improvement of biosecurity and response arrangements and plans contribute to securing the safety and success of Australia’s agricultural industries.