Ag Biosecurity and Emergency Response Project

Menu: Click across the green arrows to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

Case for change

To prevent the entry and spread of pests, diseases and weeds entering farms, orchards and natural resource environments, workers must continually monitor, develop and update biosecurity measures. Biosecurity is the responsibility of every person working on or visiting the property.

Skills are required for developing, implementing and monitoring preventive biosecurity strategies within agribusinesses. This project will develop training and skills focussed on biosecurity surveillance, monitoring agricultural products, information analysis, implementing preventive biosecurity programs and assessing environmental impacts of exotic diseases to Australian native flora and fauna.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2019-2022 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work (see pages 25-26).

Skills Impact and the Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 25-26)

Project Plan

Australia is one of the few countries to remain almost free from the world’s most severe pests, weeds and diseases. Our agricultural produce has a reputation for being high-quality and safe. This is largely due to our strict biosecurity controls and regulations and the diligence and commitment of industry and regulators in minimising risk and controlling outbreaks.

A biosecurity outbreak can be devastating to an entire industry. For example, the 2013 discovery of banana freckle in Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory and the 2015 discovery of Panama Disease TR4 in Queensland. The estimated cost of eradicating banana freckle and Panama TR4 is currently $26 million and the national response is ongoing (The University of Melbourne).

In other cases, such as the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease, Australia has managed to stay free of outbreaks, supporting the ongoing success of the Australian livestock industry. “An outbreak in Australia would decimate Australia’s pork, beef, dairy, sheep and goat industries, and lead to hardship for rural communities and businesses. It would cost $50 billion over 10 years to eradicate the disease and Australia’s reputation as a safe, clean and premium food producer would be irreparably damaged” (Australian Department of Agriculture).

Skills and knowledge required to support a wide range of processes to prevent a biosecurity outbreak is the industry’s best defence.

These skills are required at every stage of the value chain, from purchasing through to growing, transport and sales. Increasingly industry is using new technologies to detect, analyse, monitor and respond to biosecurity risks, (such as the SwagBot, an autonomous unit, with the capability to identify and eradicate weeds, while monitoring pastures and crops).

Project Scope

This project will identify the skills standards for preventing and managing biosecurity issues and benchmark these to job roles and activities. It will review the current methods, technologies and practices industry draws on to identify and manage biosecurity risks, protect their investment, and keep our community safe from the threat of pests and diseases. It will also identify the skills standards for managing a biosecurity outbreak and emergency response in line with the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Up to date vocational skills standards will support industry in access training to continue address the biosecurity issues within Australia today, and prevent those issues of tomorrow.

Scroll down to view the qualifications and units proposed for review.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Relevant Occupations

Farmers, horticulturists and environmental resource workers at all levels. State and National Biosecurity Regulatory authority workers within Agriculture and Environment departments.

 

Timeline

Jun – Jul 2019
Initial scoping

Jul – Sept 2019
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

Nov 2019
Drafts available for broad consultation

Feb 2020
Validation of final drafts

Mar – Apr 2020
Finalisation of Training Package components

June 2020
Submission for endorsement

 

Project Team
Catherine BevenIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact catherine@skillsimpact.com.au
William HendersonIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact william@skillsimpact.com.au
Andrew HorganIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impact andrew@skillsimpact.com.au
Ron BarrowIndustry Skills Standards Contractor

 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in November 2019, and again for validation of final drafts in February 2020. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting units. It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and help. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Will Henderson or Cathy Beven on 03 9321 3526 or william@skillsimpact.com.au or catherine@skillsimpact.com.au.

Units of competency

Below is a list of the units of competency that will be reviewed. We are collecting initial feedback on these documents. Specifically, we are looking at these units as job tasks and the skills and knowledge required to perform those tasks. Your feedback will help us in the review and development process. Please email your feedback to catherine@skillsimpact.com.au or william@skillsimpact.com.au.

Biosecurity Emergency Response

Biosecurity

 

Subject Matter Experts

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project to help review and draft the revised units, skill sets and qualifications.

If you are interested in applying to be a subject matter expert and are able to volunteer your time to this project, please email details of your expertise to andrew@skillsimpact.com.au.

 

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations during the development of this project to seek their involvement and their views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units.

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Of course, all and any interested industry participants are encouraged to engage in the consultation of this project, when the draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback via this webpage and workshops that take place around Australia. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project.

 

Development

Strong biosecurity measures are the backbone of Australia’s reputation for high quality produce. Skills in upholding these measures are needed at every stage of production, from purchasing through to growing, transport and sales.

Consultation with Subject Matter Experts is underway to identify the skills and knowledge required to prevent and manage biosecurity issues, and to respond to outbreaks. The work activities are being reviewed to identify similar skills standards. While different sectors face specific challenges (such as cane toad in Kakadu, Myrtle Rust in bushland areas, swine flu in pigs), there is overlap in the ways in which these outbreaks can be prevented. This has been taken into consideration in the creation and review of the units of competency that support job roles within these sectors. They are being revised to support flexible career paths and provide an integrated approach to skills needs across the supply chain.

Subject Matter Experts are also considering whether there is a need for a stand-alone Biosecurity and Emergency Response qualification. There are 13 units of competency under review. Feedback so far suggests that the units require stronger ‘Knowledge Evidence’ sections, and the industry needs to decide whether there should be a stand-alone biosecurity qualification, or whether biosecurity units should be embedded or encouraged in every related qualification. Skills Impact is embarking on a series of site visits across different industry sectors that deploy biosecurity and emergency response as a part of their every day practice.

Consultation Workshops – Registrations Open!

The draft qualifications and units will be made available on this webpage for broad stakeholder consultation and feedback in November (under the ‘Drafts Available’ menu above). We welcome your feedback and advice on the draft skills standards in this time. Face-to-face consultation workshops will also take place, with a webinar planned for those unable to attend in person. Registrations for these workshops are now open. Register for a workshop near you by clicking the corresponding link.

Face-to-face consultation workshops

Thursday 7 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Hobartregister here

Friday 8 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Launcestonregister here

Tuesday 12 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Adelaideregister here

Wednesday 13 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Perthregister here

Tuesday 19 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Sydneyregister here

Wednesday 20 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Brisbaneregister here

Thursday 21 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Melbourneregister here

Tuesday 26 November, 1pm – 3.30pm Darwinregister here

Consultation webinar

Thursday 28 November, 1pm to 3pm AEST – webinarregister here

Friday 29 November, 9am to 11am AEST – webinarregister here

 

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

Drafts Available

Australia’s reputation for high quality produce is underpinned by strong biosecurity measures. The skills for upholding these measures are needed at every stage of production, from purchasing through to growing, transport and sales. Industry is driving this project to define skills standards in biosecurity, including those required to minimize risk in day to day operations, and those needed to respond in the case of an outbreak.

Subject Matter Experts have identified that while different sectors face specific challenges, there is overlap in the ways in which these outbreaks can be prevented. This has been taken into account in the review of the units of competency that support job roles within this sector.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on the draft units of competency and skill sets that were made available on this webpage for feedback from 7 November – 9 December 2019.

During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, eight face-to-face consultation workshops, two webinars and emails. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

Feedback will inform the work on the final drafts which are expected to be available for industry validation in February 2020. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

The units and skill sets are being updated to reflect current industry practices and technology, so that students are across all relevant biosecurity issues and their appropriate responses, and are job-ready. They are being revised to support flexible career paths and provide an integrated approach to skills needs across the supply chain.

AHCSSXXXX Basic Biosecurity Skill SetView draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Biosecurity emergency manager Skill SetView draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Biosecurity emergency responder Skill SetView draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Farm manager site manager Skill SetView draft skill set

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

These units have received feedback regarding who they target, and the communication aspect between industry and government representatives.

AHCBER301 Work effectively in an emergency disease or plant pest responseView draft unit
AHCBER303 Carry out emergency disease or pest control procedures at infected premisesView draft unit
AHCBER304 Carry out movement and security proceduresView draft unit
AHCBER401 Plan and supervise control activities on infected premisesView draft unit
AHCBER402 Carry out field surveillance for a specific emergency disease or pestView draft unit
AHCBER501 Manage active operational emergency disease or pest sitesView draft unit
AHCBER502 Develop and manage an emergency disease or pest control programView draft unit
AHCBER601 Plan and oversee an emergency disease or pest control programView draft unit

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

These units have had minor changes to the performance evidence.

AHCBIO201 Inspect and clean machinery to preserve biosecurityView draft unit
AHCBIO202 Follow site quarantine proceduresView draft unit
AHCBIO302 Identify and report signs of unusual disease or pestView draft unit
AHCBIO305 Apply biosecurity measuresView draft unit
AHCBIO403 Plan and implement a biosecurity programView draft unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

Summary of consultation to date

The draft qualifications, skill sets and units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts. They have considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in August. People working directly in the biosecurity and the emergency response sectors participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Site visits were undertaken to observe these job roles in workplaces. Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Validation

Australia’s strict biosecurity controls and measures protect our reputation for high quality produce. The skills for upholding biosecurity controls and measures are required at every stage of production, from purchasing through to growing, transport and sales. A biosecurity outbreak can be devastating to an entire industry. While different sectors face specific challenges, there is overlap in the ways in which these outbreaks can be prevented.

Thank you to those who provided feedback on the final draft skill sets and units that were made available on this webpage for feedback from 13 February – 1 March 2020. 

The final drafts will shortly progress through to the Finalisation stage of the project which includes quality assurance of the documents and review and feedback from the State/Territory Training Authorities. They will then be forwarded to the Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) for consideration and sign off, before being submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to consider and approve for publication on training.gov.au.

Key Changes

Prior to Validation, all units were updated to include preparedness for an outbreak. The Biosecurity Incident Management System (BIMS) standards have also been used across all units and will be described in the Implementation Guide to support training delivery. 

Working closely with biosecurity emergency responders, units were also revised to complement existing procedures to respond to an outbreak, including the hierarchical structures that are formed during a biosecurity related emergency response situation. 

The draft skill sets for biosecurity emergency responder and manager are no longer being developed as PUASS00063 Biosecurity Emergency Responder was identified as an existing skill set which can address these skills needs. Along with the new basic biosecurity and site manager skill sets, the project has seen the development of an additional two new skill sets to assist with biosecurity emergency response. They are for the use of firearms and chainsaws.

Summary of consultation to date

The initial drafts of the skill sets, and units were made available from 7 November – 9 December 2019, under the ‘Drafts Available’ stage. During this time, feedback was collected through the online feedback hub and emails, and as a result of eight face-to-face consultation workshops held around the country, two webinars, and phone calls. The units were drafted with guidance from a Subject Matter Expert Group, who considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in August. People working directly in the biosecurity and the emergency response sectors participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Site visits were undertaken to observe these job roles in workplaces.

A description of how feedback has been considered and applied in these final drafts can be downloaded below. Please click the ‘Download Summary of Feedback, Responses and Actions’ button.

AHCSSXXXX Basic biosecurity skill setView final draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Basic chainsaw operator skill setView final draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Firearms skill setView final draft skill set
AHCSSXXXX Site manager skill setView final draft skill set

These units received feedback regarding who they target, and the communication aspect between industry and government representatives.

AHCBER301 Work effectively in a biosecurity responseView final draft unit
AHCBER303 Carry out emergency disease or plant pest control procedures at infected premisesView final draft unit
AHCBER304 Carry out movement and security proceduresView final draft unit
AHCBER401 Plan and supervise control activities on infected premisesView final draft unit
AHCBER402 Carry out field surveillance for a specific emergency disease or plant pestView final draft unit
AHCBER501 Manage active operational emergency disease or plant pest sitesView final draft unit
AHCBER502 Develop and manage a biosecurity emergency control programView final draft unit
AHCBER601 Plan and oversee an emergency biosecurity incidentView final draft unit

These units had minor changes to the performance evidence.

AHCBIO201 Inspect and clean machinery, tools and equipment to preserve biosecurityView final draft unit
AHCBIO202 Follow site quarantine proceduresView final draft unit
AHCBIO302 Identify and report signs of unusual disease or plant pest signsView final draft unit
AHCBIO305 Apply biosecurity measuresView final draft unit
AHCBIO403 Plan and implement a biosecurity programView final draft unit

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

Finalisation

Australia has a reputation for producing high-quality and safe agricultural produce, thanks largely to strict biosecurity controls and regulations. The commitment of industry and regulators in minimising risk and controlling outbreaks means we are one of the few countries to remain almost free from many of the world’s most severe pests, weeds and diseases.

The outbreaks that have occurred in Australia show how devastating the impact can be for an entire industry. For instance, the 2013 discovery of banana freckle in Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory and the 2015 discovery of Panama Disease TR4 in Queensland, which have cost an estimated $26 million to eradicate, with the national response still ongoing (The University of Melbourne).

Industry has driven this project to define the skills and knowledge required to perform a wide range of processes for preventing a biosecurity outbreak, as well as the skills for managing an outbreak and emergency response. As a result, four new skills sets have been developed and 13 existing units reviewed. They capture skills required at every stage of the value chain, from purchasing through to growing, transport and sales. They also include skills for using new technologies, which are increasingly used to detect, analyse, monitor and respond to biosecurity risks.

Ross Brown of Sunpork Ltd is one member of industry who has expressed a positive reaction to  outcome of the project.

Sunpork gives full support in the AHCBIO and AHCBER revised units… The changes reflect the industry requirements and also improves the student outcomes. They have been well designed for the Industry and will stand us in good stead if the unthinkable happens.

Key Outcomes
  • Developed four skill sets to capture the skills needed for basic biosecurity, basic chainsaw operation, firearms and site management.
  • Updated 13 units of competency, including revisions to eight biosecurity emergency response (BER) to align with actual emergency response scenarios and five biosecurity (BIO) units to incorporate all agricultural and natural area needs.
  • Biosecurity Incident Management System (BIMS) standards have been included across all units, as well a description in the Implementation Guide to support training delivery.
  • Terminology across all units was updated to align with current industry use.
Summary of consultation

The units and qualifications were developed with guidance from a group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), made up of workplace experts and industry. It contained 15 national recognised industry experts, from all states and territories except the ACT. The broader industry were then consulted on the draft documents at two different stages – the ‘Drafts Available’ and ‘Validation’ stages. The SME working group met in person three times throughout the duration of the project, and were asked to review the feedback from both stages before validating all the reviewed project components. 

Feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, eight consultation workshops, two webinars, phone calls and email. Thank you to the 48 experts from this highly specialised field gave their feedback throughout the project. 

A summary of feedback and how it was been considered and applied at the ‘Drafts Available’ and ‘Validation’ stages can be downloaded below.

 

The final draft units of competency and skill sets have been submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) for endorsement, after which they will be forwarded to State and Territory Ministers. The drafts have undergone an edit and equity and independent quality assurance process and consideration by the State/Territory Training Authorities (STAs/TTAs).

A Case for Endorsement was submitted alongside the draft units and skill sets, including a rationale of why these changes are needed and evidence of industry support. A Companion Volume Implementation Guide has also been produced to assist industry and registered training providers (RTOs) deliver the units and skill sets. It contains key information to help trainers adapt to the new changes, and additional information about the impacts of regulation and licensing implications and workplace health and safety on their training.

The submitted documents are available for download below.

Click here to download the Case for Endorsement

Click here to download the Companion Volume Implementation Guide Part 1

Click here to download the Companion Volume Implementation Guide Part 2

Click here to download a zipped folder of all skill sets in this group.

AHCSS00110 Basic Biosecurity Skill Set
AHCSS00112 Site Manager for Biosecurity Emergency Reponse Skill Set
AHCSS00113 Firearms Skill Set

Click here to download a zipped folder of all units in this group.

AHCBER302 Work effectively in a biosecurity emergency response
AHCBER305 Carry out emergency disease or pest control procedures on infected premises
AHCBER306 Carry out movement and security procedures
AHCBER403 Plan and supervise control activities on infected premises
AHCBER404 Conduct field surveillance for a biosecurity emergency response
AHCBER503 Manage active operational emergency disease or pest sites
AHCBER504 Manage the implementation of a biosecurity emergency control program
AHCBER602 Plan and oversee a biosecurity emergency incident

Click here to download a zipped folder of all units in this group.

AHCBIO203 Inspect and clean machinery, tools and equipment to preserve biosecurity
AHCBIO204 Follow site biosecurity procedures
AHCBIO301 Identify and report signs of unusual disease or pest
AHCBIO303 Apply biosecurity measures
AHCBIO401 Plan and implement a biosecurity program

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest.