Australia has a nationally agreed policy on the official control of exotic plant pests and diseases.

The focus of the policy is to:

  • help contain and control new plant pests
  • allow the Australian Government to continue to regulate imports to prevent pest entry
  • facilitate exports, so growers can send their products to overseas markets.

Are you a grower in Australia’s horticulture, grains or timber industries? You need to be aware of the policy, know what ‘official control’ means and when it could apply to you.

What official control means and when it applies

On occasions, an exotic plant pest or disease may enter Australia that cannot be eradicated. If this happens, the pest or disease is managed by industry and the government of the state or territory in which it occurs.

When ‘official control’ is applied, the state or territory government puts in place measures to contain and control the pest or disease. These mandatory activities include:

  • containment or suppression activities (mostly involves destruction, disposal and decontamination)
  • surveillance in the area where the pest or disease could establish
  • movement restrictions so the pest or disease does not spread to an area that is not affected.

Official control can be applied at a regional or national level. If it is national, it must be consistent across all states and territories.

How official control protects Australia and helps trade continue

New pests and diseases disrupt Australian agricultural industries and the environment. Australia also has international obligations in relation to global spread of pests and diseases.

Australia imports and exports plants and plant products. These products must meet certain conditions to be allowed into or out of Australia. Exports must also meet the conditions set by the country that is importing them.

When an exotic pest or disease enters Australia and is officially confirmed, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry notifies the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

The confirmed presence of the pest or disease in Australia can trigger other countries to impose trade bans or restrictions on our exports. They may also request we review our current import conditions.

If a pest or disease is under official control, the Australian Government can:

  • justify continuing to regulate international imports to prevent pest entry
  • negotiate with trading partners to accept plants or products (either from areas in Australia not affected by the pest or disease, treated to IPPC standards, or both).

Official control has costs relating to containment, surveillance and movement restrictions. State and territory governments, in consultation with peak industry bodies, must decide if official control is cost-beneficial or if other options are more appropriate.

Read the policy

Plant Quarantine​ Pest and Official Control National Policy​​

Contact us

Contact the Office of the Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).

Email ACPPO or phone 1800 900 090.

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