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National Biosecurity Response Team Update | December 2019

12 Dec 2019

Workshops and exercises

Exercise Rapid Strike

Exercise Rapid Strike was held in mid-May by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA). Three NBRT members were funded by the NBRT program to attend, while four more SA-based NBRT members also took part, across the Planning, Operations and Incident Management functions.

The exercise focused on building capability and capacity among PIRSA staff, using an African swine fever scenario. Feedback from the PIRSA team indicated that NBRT members – both SA-based and from interstate – were a valuable addition to the exercise, enhancing the experience for others by passing on their knowledge and experience.

In future, the NBRT Advisory Group will be looking to ensure that NBRT members’ attendance at workshops and exercises which are hosted by other jurisdictions become a key way to not only build upon the reputation of the NBRT and its members, but to also add value to these events by tapping into their knowledge and expertise.

If you or your jurisdiction are planning an event and have a need for presenters and subject-matter experts to share their understanding and their experiences, please let the Advisory Group know as soon as possible.

OP2BER Participants during a site visit


The first OP2BER accredited training workshop was run in Toowoomba in late May. Using a blended online and face-to-face delivery of the BERTA materials, the workshop focused on preparing participants to take on the role of Operations Manager during a biosecurity emergency response.

All participants (including six NBRT members in the Operations, Planning and Incident Manager cohorts) agreed that the workshop increased their ability to fulfil the role, noting the usefulness of a refresh for experienced staff and the expertise of the trainers and other participants for less experienced staff.

“I found this really useful and made me rethink a few of my practices,” said one participant, a sentiment which was shared among the wider group.

PLANBER in progress


Further to OP2BER, PLANBER participants gathered in Darwin in late May to receiving training specific to the Planning Manager role in a response, using the BERTA materials for this module in a workshop setting for the first time.

Participants (including 11 NBRT members from the Planning, Operations and Incident Manager cohorts), noted the effectiveness of the trainers in adding value to the course content and delivering an engaging workshop. Group activities and site visits to a working Local Control Centre were also noted among the most valuable aspects.

“Congratulations on delivering a course that threatened to be dry and boring in an engaging and interesting way,” said one participant.


All participants (including seven NBRT members from the Planning and Logisitics cohorts) in the first LOGBER accredited training workshop – held in Perth during late August – agreed that they were better prepared to take on the Logisitics Manager role in a response.

Like OP2BER and PLANBER, participants rated this Australia-first workshop extremely highly. Common themes in the feedback provided to organisers were that the workshop was well paced, covered useful topics and was presented to a very high standard. Participants also noted that the workshop improved their understanding and readiness to adopt the Logistics Manager role, and were highly likely to recommend the course to others.

Feedback included, “a good instructor with lots of actual experience was a strong point for the course.”

A shared challenge across each workshop (OP2BER, PLANBER and LOGBER) was in ironing out the kinks, as these were the first accredited training workshops being run using the BERTA Certificate IV modules. Our thanks to the NBRT members who have helped to pilot these workshops.

Response Logistics Guide

A follow-up activity of the LOGBER workshop was the development of a Response Logistics Guide. The document is designed to provide guidance on contemporary response Logistics practices and processes during a response, and which may be used as a training aid.

The guide is complete and awaiting endorsement with a view to publish in the new year. Reviewers have provided valuable feedback in reaching the final draft version. Comments included:

“The guide is well-structured and effectively captures key elements of the logistics role. It also compliments existing response guides.”

“Congratulations on preparing a fabulous resource for logistics. I learnt so much from reading this guide, and it will be a great addition to Australia’s suite of preparedness and training documents.”

Public Information workshop participants

Public Information

Six new NBRT members were inducted into the Public Information cohort in Brisbane in early November, followed by a professional development workshop based on the BERTA Public Information module (PIBER).

The workshop was a great success, with all participants agreeing that their understanding of and preparedness for the role had been improved as a result. The personal experiences of the presenters and the opportunity to practice the work were noted as strong points in the course, allowing participants to understand the context of the training.

“I found the PI workshop really valuable – it was very thorough,” said one participant.

“It was also really useful to hear from others who have a lot of experience in responses – I came away with a new appreciation for just how much work goes into the PI Manager role.”

Participants will be able to complete the accredited PIBER training with some Recognition of Prior Learning in the near future.


NBRT 2020 Exercise

We’re looking forward to the upcoming NBRT Exercise 2020 (as yet unnamed), to be held mid-year in Sydney.

Hosted by NSW DPI in Homebush, Sydney, and supported by the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Police Force the discussion-based exercise has been designed to explore the interactions between a number of state Emergency Services Organisations, biosecurity authorities and law enforcement agencies working in close collaboration.

NBRT members will explore their role in the overall response, command and control structures, exchanges of information and multi-agency coordination during a biosecurity emergency response instigated by a fictional agro-terrorism incident.

We hope you can join us for Exercise 2020.


Last reviewed: 17/12/2019

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