The National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT) Cadet program is gaining momentum, having recently concluded its latest training workshop in Fremantle, Western Australia, as part of its commitment to ensuring preparedness and readiness in responding to evolving biosecurity threats. The latest in-person biosecurity training workshop is a component of the ongoing Cadet series conducted throughout Australia, playing a pivotal role in fostering a comprehensive understanding of the complexities associated with responding to emergency threats.
These workshops initiated and run by Animal Health Australia provide participants with a dynamic and interactive environment where they can engage in real-time discussions, exchange experiences, and actively participate in practical exercises.
The two-day workshop explored the nuances of biosecurity emergency management. Engaging in the emergency scenario threaded throughout the workshop and various activities, participants gained a tangible sense of the tasks typically undertaken within an Incident Management Team (IMT).
Mar Hube Principal Policy Officer, Biosecurity at Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) provided a firsthand account, sharing his recent experience in responding to the confirmed detection of the Polyphagous Shot-Hole Borer (PSHB), an exotic beetle in the Perth metropolitan area. During the discussion, participants posed several questions, seeking insights into the disease’s spread and how Hube managed external communications.
The session shed light on Hube’s pivotal role within the IMT and the intricacies involved in orchestrating a response while underscoring the nuanced responsibilities and challenges associated with leading an effective response effort.
Participants also explored the phases of a biosecurity emergency response, understanding the importance of early detection, containment, control, and eradication efforts. The workshop provided a deep dive into state emergency management plans and Biosecurity Emergency Sub-Plans, emphasizing legislative arrangements under the all-hazards Emergency Management Act and specific emergency provisions in relevant biosecurity legislation.
A critical aspect of effective biosecurity response is situational awareness. The workshop facilitated discussions on what situational awareness entails and how it is achieved. Participants learned about Situational Reports (SitReps) – their purpose, components, and importance in maintaining a clear understanding of the evolving emergency scenario. Real-life examples of jurisdictional SitReps were shared, providing practical insights into the reporting process.
The workshop served as an invaluable platform for stakeholders involved in Australia’s biosecurity sector, fostering a shared understanding of roles, responsibilities, and response mechanisms. By delving into the intricacies of biosecurity emergency management, participants left the workshop equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to contribute effectively to Australia’s biosecurity preparedness and response efforts. As Australia continues to face diverse biosecurity threats, collaborative initiatives and knowledge-sharing forums like this workshop remain essential in ensuring the nation’s resilience in the face of emerging challenges.