Animal Health Australia (AHA) partnered with the ACT government to present latest National Biosecurity Response Team (NBRT) Cadet training program, held 12 – 13 October in Canberra. The training program was presented to 26 nominated individuals from across the biosecurity spectrum in the ACT, including Plant Health Australia (PHA), the Department of Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPPSD), Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS), Icon Water, and Suburban Land Agency.

Biosecurity response management specialist, Craig Elliott from P2R2 Consulting, facilitated the workshop, which included a range of scenarios and tasks designed to build foundational knowledge and help develop the necessary skills to address potential animal and plant incursions in a biosecurity emergency preparedness and response.

The NBRT training is designed to focus on the mechanics and functions of biosecurity response and arrangements at both state and national levels. Attendees actively engaged in problem-solving exercises based on diverse scenarios, preparing them for various potential biosecurity incidents. All attendees had the opportunity to meet and network with a wide variety of people from across industries in the ACT and increase the pool of those available to call on in the event of a biosecurity response.

Since its formation in 2017, the NBRT has been developing and maintaining a pool of response-ready personnel cross Australia that can be accessed by a jurisdiction’s biosecurity agency when responding to a biosecurity incident.  The goal of the program is to elevate biosecurity emergency preparedness and response capabilities in each jurisdiction. By maintaining a critical mass of cross-sectoral response-ready personnel, the initiative supports national efforts and assists jurisdictional preparedness, ensuring a robust and well-coordinated response to future biosecurity challenges.

The NBRT comprises 70 members from the Australian, state and territory governments who are grouped into either the mentor or Incident Management Team (IMT) functional cohort. In addition, NBRT members are appointed to one of the following functions: Incident Management; Liaison; Logistics; Operations; Planning, or Public Information.

The workshop also included presentations from Kirsten Tasker (Biosecurity and Rural Programs Coordinator), Bruce Hancock (Director, Biosecurity and Agriculture Policy at ACT Government), and Tony Scherl (Director of Fire Planning).

The program provided a comprehensive overview of the mechanics of a response, from the investigation and alert phase, through the operations phase to either area freedom or transition to management, including the different levels of response, from level one localised responses to level five where international support may be required.

Visit animalhealthaustralia.com.au for more information on the NRBT program.