Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Biosecurity Amendment (Strengthening Penalties) Bill 2021; Second Reading
I rise to conclude debate on the Biosecurity Amendment (Strengthening Penalties) Bill 2021. This bill will amend the Biosecurity Act 2015 to provide stronger civil and criminal penalties for those who expose Australia to biosecurity risks through noncompliance with the act. The bill will increase the maximum financial penalties that apply to a number of civil and criminal penalty provisions across the Biosecurity Act, and the increased civil penalties will serve as a deterrent to anybody considering undermining our biosecurity laws and thereby our fruit growers, farmers and other people who make a living in this sector. The criminal penalties will allow appropriate and proportionate punishment for offences under the Biosecurity Act. The penalty amounts in this bill more appropriately reflect the impact that contraventions may have on Australia's biosecurity status, market access and economy than the current penalty regime. Deterring noncompliance with the Biosecurity Act will help maintain Australia's favourable biosecurity status and protect our $71.2 billion agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries and valuable and unique environmental assets. Back home in my electorate, I think of all the fruit growers, and the beautiful forests in places like Dwellingup, in the Perth Hills, that need protecting. This bill will do just that. This is particularly important in anticipation of growing biosecurity risks, with anticipated growth in international trade and travel. The member for Indi just mentioned the in-principle FTA with the United Kingdom, a great boon for our economy. Given that this will protect our growers from biosecurity risks as the economy recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I commend this bill to the House.