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Biosecurity Emergency Response Training Australia

Introduction

Biosecurity Emergency Response Training Australia (BERTA) is an initiative to allow a national and consistent approach to all areas of biosecurity emergency response training (i.e. training standards, training and assessment materials, trainers and assessors, and resources). This is undertaken as a cooperative effort between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA). You can view the course information here. This training is enabled through the Tocal College, AHA and PHA Training Services Agreement (pdf - 558 KB) .

Purpose

To develop and maintain a nationally consistent approach to trained and practiced personnel, capable of responding effectively to biosecurity responses so that nationally, the biosecurity sector will be in an enhanced position to develop and maintain trained and practiced personnel, capable of responding effectively to biosecurity incidents across all sectors. This will greatly increase capacity and capability to respond to ever-increasing exotic disease threats. The BERTA training and assessment materials cover all aspects of biosecurity (plants, animals, aquatics, marine, environment and invasive species).

Background

In 2008 there was recognition that a national framework for biosecurity emergency response assessment skills and competencies be established. In 2009 work began to develop the framework and between 2010-2012 the three biosecurity response qualifications were developed through consultation between the Australian Government, state and territory biosecurity agencies, AHA, PHA and Government Skills Australia

In 2016 the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC) funded the BERTA Training and Assessment Materials Project, delivered by Tocal College, to develop a national suite of resources, which will support the delivery of seven biosecurity response skill sets and three qualifications. Tocal College utilised existing training materials, engaged jurisdictional personnel with subject matter expertise, existing policies, plans, manuals and standard operating procedures as a basis for the development of a national suite of training and assessment materials which allows a blended mode of learning, with both online and face-to-face content. This allows jurisdictional trainers to deliver the BERTA training and assessment materials using a flexible approach.

What are the skill sets?

The skill sets target specific roles in a response allowing for comprehensive professional development opportunities, or full qualifications for responders, team leaders and managers. Each of the skills sets are also accredited and build towards the qualifications, should individuals want to go on to achieve a full qualification. All personnel trained using the BERTA training and assessment materials will have the same skills and knowledge, therefore it will be easier to deploy and receive personnel from interstate for an active biosecurity emergency response in the affected state/territory.

The seven biosecurity emergency response skill sets are designed to equip biosecurity emergency response personnel with the appropriate knowledge and skills to competently perform one or more roles in a biosecurity emergency response setting and to be ‘mission ready’.

Biosecurity emergency responder

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to undertake the duties of a biosecurity responder in biosecurity emergency response operations, in either field or control/coordination centre environments.

A biosecurity responder may:

  • ensure that risk control measures are implemented
  • undertake decontamination and work in quarantine zones
  • contribute to response planning operations
  • implement surveillance and undertake inspections

Biosecurity emergency response leader

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to undertake leadership roles in biosecurity emergency response operations, in either field or control/coordination centre environments.

The biosecurity response leader may:

  • coordinate and contribution to, planning and operational strategy development and logistics
  • ensure appropriate information management
  • communicate with stakeholders
  • manage the human resource aspects of the team.

Biosecurity emergency response manager

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to manage biosecurity emergency response operations, in either field or coordination centre environments.

The biosecurity response leader may:

  • manage multiple teams to develop and carry out an appropriate biosecurity emergency response
  • ensure all response activities are undertaken safely
  • effectively and efficiently implement the relevant aspects of the incident action plan
  • undertake multi-agency liaison and high-level communication activities
  • supervise innovative approaches that strengthen biosecurity response team outcomes
  • formulate strategic plans for response teams
  • work with other agencies and ensure biosecurity compliance
  • demonstrate a high degree of autonomy, judgement and management responsibility in complex and changing contexts within broad established parameters.

Biosecurity field Surveillance

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge for those appointed or engaged as part of a field surveillance team to undertake a role within an emergency animal disease or emergency plant pest response. It also provides skills and knowledge to those who have daily contact with plants, birds, animals and fish and who are required to recognise unusual disease or plant pest signs during day to work and take appropriate reporting action.

Biosecurity movement control

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to implement appropriate procedures to restrict the movement of vehicles, personnel, products, livestock and plant material in relation to managing an emergency animal disease or emergency plant pest incursion.

Biosecurity infected premises operations

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to carry out emergency disease or plant pest control activities at a site affected by an emergency animal disease outbreak or emergency plant pest incursion. The skill set also provides the skills and knowledge required to follow procedures that reduce the likelihood of pathogenic organisms entering a quarantine site; this applies to any personnel entering or leaving the quarantine area.

Biosecurity infected premises supervision

This skill set provides the skills and knowledge required to supervise others in a range of activities required on infected premises and applies to personnel who have been appointed or engaged to undertake a role within an emergency animal disease or emergency plant pest response. This skill set also provides the skills and knowledge required to manage active operational emergency disease or plant pest sites.

What are the qualifications?

The biosecurity response qualifications provide a comprehensive pathway for biosecurity emergency response personnel at the following levels:

  • Biosecurity response operations
  • Biosecurity response leadership
  • Biosecurity response management.

Certificate III in Public Safety (Biosecurity response operations)

This qualification provides individuals with the skills and knowledge to work effectively in a biosecurity emergency response operation. It comprises five core and five general elective units of competency.

Individuals working at this level will follow instructions in an operation and be able to apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy and judgement within their proven competencies.

Elements covered in this qualification may include:

  • contributing to response planning
  • implementing disease or pest surveillance and associated sampling protocols
  • ensuring effective quarantine and movement controls
  • undertaking disease or pest control procedures at infected premises.

Certificate IV in Public Safety (Biosecurity response leadership)

This qualification provides individuals with the skills and knowledge to provide effective leadership in a biosecurity emergency response operation, in either field or control/coordination centre environments. It comprises five core and six elective units of competency.

Individuals at this level will apply their knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, judgement and limited responsibility within their proven competencies and in reacting to changing operating environments.

Elements covered in this qualification may include:

  • leading a field team
  • undertaking activities such as investigations, movement controls or infected premises operations
  • leading a team within an operations centre
  • coordinating and contributing to planning and operational strategy development and logistics relevant to response activities.

Diploma of Public Safety (Biosecurity response management)

This qualification provides individuals with the skills and knowledge to provide effective management of a multi-team biosecurity emergency response operation. It comprises five core and six elective units of competency.

Individuals at this level will apply their knowledge and skills to demonstrate a high level of autonomy, judgement and defined management responsibility within their proven competencies, which may include complex and changing operating environments.

  • formulating strategic plans
  • undertaking multi-organisation liaison and high level communication activities
  • overseeing complex resource coordination activities
  • taking overarching responsibility for safety, financial and human resource management within the relevant aspects of the role
  • directing and managing multiple teams

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Page reviewed: February 6, 2019