Fast, clear and consistent communication is crucial during a biosecurity incident response.

We work together to achieve this through the National Biosecurity Communication and Engagement Network (NBCEN). NBCEN is also pivotal in providing information on how to prevent and prepare for an outbreak.

The audience

NBCEN’s audience are people affected by biosecurity incidents.

This could include:

  • producers/growers and their local communities
  • overseas trading partners
  • exporters and supply chain service providers
  • government staff
  • the public and media.

What we do

NBCEN produces public information in response to pest or disease incursions. They advise the National Consultative Committees and National Management Group on best practice communication.

NBCEN operates under the national biosecurity response arrangements. Their activities are guided by best practice as described in the Biosecurity Incident Public Information Manual (BIPIM).

Preparing for an incident

When there’s no active response, NBCEN uses this time to:

  • help develop and take part in training exercises for biosecurity incidents
  • prepare and update communication tools, manuals, guidelines and resources
  • share plans, research outcomes, lessons learnt and resources with members.

The group reports to the National Biosecurity Committee.

Our members

Core members are communication managers from:

  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • state and territory agriculture/biosecurity agencies
  • Animal Health Australia
  • Plant Health Australia
  • Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (CSIRO)
  • Department of Health and Aged Care.
  • Observers attend from:
  • Wildlife Heath Australia
  • Invasive Species Council
  • Centre for Invasive Species Solutions
  • New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries.

During an incident

NBCEN will invite communication managers from:

  • affected industries
  • other government agencies
  • non-government environment organisations
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  • Australian Food and Grocery Council
  • Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
  • groups critical to the response.

To take part in NBCEN, affected industries must be signed on to the:

  • Emergency Plant Pest Deed (EPPRD) or
  • Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement EADRA.

Public information experts

An Incident Management Team (IMT) needs public information experts.

Are you a communication professional being deployed to an IMT?

Learn more about national coordination, processes and tools to manage a biosecurity incident.

Watch our training video. It’s designed to help people integrate into a public information role during a biosecurity incident.


NBCEN meetings are held each month.

Face-to-face meetings are held twice yearly, which are rotated around the jurisdictions to host. NBCEN meets promptly as required in response to emergency pest or disease incidents.

The NBCEN Chair is rotated between core members every 3 years.


The NBCEN Secretariat is in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Email the NBCEN Secretariat.