Australia’s first Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer (CEBO) was appointed in October 2018.
The CEBO’s role is to raise awareness and build Australia’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks to Australia’s unique wildlife, our way of life, and our status as a clean, green exporter of high-quality food.
The CEBO’s role includes:
- building networks and relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, including Indigenous Australians, to promote and strengthen environmental biosecurity outcomes and reduce threats to the environment from exotic and invasive species
- providing strategic direction and policy advice on environmental biosecurity issues and key threats to endangered species and ecosystems from invasive species and diseases
- being the point of contact for national reporting of environmental pests, diseases and weeds under the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) and ensuring clear Commonwealth leadership during environmental responses, and
- enhancing our understanding of environmental biosecurity risks through:
- supporting risk assessments and analysis
- improving the capture, analysis, management, use and sharing of data and information to inform investment and decision-making, and
- encourage increased and better-coordinated research
- liaising between government and the community to raise awareness and build Australia’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks.
The CEBO also participates in a number of key national bodies:
- Member of the Environment and Invasives Committee and Northern Australia Biosecurity Framework Reference Group
- Chair of the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee, the Consultative Committee on Environmental Biosecurity Incidents, the Consultative Committee on Invasive Marine Pest Emergencies, the Environmental Biosecurity Advisory Group, and the Wildlife Health Australia Management Committee
- Observer of the Marine Pest Sectoral Committee
Building Australia’s environmental biosecurity capacity
The CEBO is building Australia’s environment biosecurity capacity by:
- Strengthening environmental biosecurity preparedness and response through supporting the development of the Invasives Plan and revised National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA)
- A National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases (EEPL). We are also leading the development of its Implementation Plan.
- Reviewing and strengthening the environmental risks in surveillance and diagnostic programs
- Use of web-scanning tool to identify risk species (IBIS)
- Supporting the development of a Pest and Disease Information Repository
Strengthening environmental biosecurity management
The CEBO is strengthening Australia’s environmental biosecurity management by:
- Developing a national framework for environmental biosecurity
- Supporting the review and implementation of the National Environment and Community Biosecurity Research, Development and Extension Strategy 2016-2020
- Supporting the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA) Review and the Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
- Developing Threat Abatement Plans for listed Key Threatening Processes under the EPBC Act
- Coordinating and aligning regulation of import of live specimens under the EPBC and Biosecurity Acts
- Coordinating 16 exotic pest incursions under the NEBRA including:
- browsing ants in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia
- Red imported fire ants and incisa ants in Western Australia and
- national tropical weeds in Queensland
Developing networks and knowledge sharing
The CEBO is developing biosecurity networks and knowledge sharing by:
- Hosting bi-annual Environmental Biosecurity Roundtables (2016-2019)
- Hosting the Environmental Biosecurity webinar series in 2020 and 2021.
- Supporting Australia’s membership of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
- Hosting the International Symposium on limiting the spread of contaminant pests (2020)
- Sponsoring environmental biosecurity seminars and events
- Engaging citizen science networks in environmental biosecurity efforts
About Dr Robyn Cleland
Dr Cleland started as Australia’s Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer in April 2021. Dr Cleland has held senior leadership roles in the Australian Public Service for over a decade and worked across the portfolios of Agriculture, Health and Environment, working in policy, compliance and regulation. Her scientific expertise spans biosecurity, plant health, biotechnology, food, ecology and agriculture. Before she joined the Australian Public Service, Dr Cleland was a research scientist at the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield and the Australian National University.
The Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is a national leadership role like the: