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Quarantine & biosecurity



Security sensitive biological agents (SSBAs)

List of SSBAs







To help protect the Australian environment from unwanted pests and disease, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWS) (formerly Department of Agriculture, prior to that AQIS) regulates products imported into Australia. The importation of some products is, by law, subject to certain biosecurity import conditions. Investigators have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the Quarantine Act 1908* when dealing with quarantine status material.

Investigators wishing to import material from overseas should determine whether they require an Import Permit from DAWS. The new BICON system will identify whether your items require an Import Permit. DAWS have also provided a Frequently Asked Questions about biological products webpage that may assist you with import procedures. Some quarantine status material must be stored or dealt with in a Quarantine Approved Premise (QAP). See Facilities for further information on QAPs at Macquarie University.

To handle quarantine status material and work within any of the Universities QAPs, you must undertake online QAP Accredited Person training which is offered directly from the DAWS website and complete a Fit and Proper Persons Self Declaration. Investigators must ensure that all personnel involved in the handling of quarantine status material have undergone this training. Investigators must also ensure that at all times their work with quarantine status materials complies with the specific conditions listed on their DAWS Import Permit and that all the mandatory records, labelling and evidence of disposal are maintained.

*From 16 June 2016 the Biosecurity Act 2015 will replace the Quarantine Act 1908 and will become the primary piece of biosecurity legislation in Australia.

Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBAs)

The deliberate release of harmful biological agents has the potential to cause significant damage to human health, the environment and the Australian economy. In accordance with the National Health Security Act 2007, a scheme has been implemented by the Department of Health for the regulation of security sensitive biological agents.  The aim is "to give effect to Australia's obligations to establish controls for the security of certain biological agents that could be used as weapons".

SSBAs are highly regulated, therefor if you wish to start work with SSBAs, please ensure you notify the IBC as soon as possible. You and your staff may need to undergo assessment of criminal history and your facility may need to be upgraded to ensure the security and containment of the SSBA.

List of SSBAs

The regulation of Tier 1 agents commenced on 31stJanuary 2009 and the regulation of Tier 2 agents commenced on 31stJanuary 2010.

Tier 1 Agents

Tier 2 Agents

Abrin (reportable quantity 5 mg)

African swine fever virus

Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax - virulent strains)

(Sheep pox virus and Goat pox virus)

Botulinum toxin (reportable quantity 0.5 mg)

Classical swine fever virus


Clostridium botulinum
(Botulism; toxin-producing strains)

Foot-and-mouth disease virus

Francisella tularensis (Tularaemia)

Highly pathogenic influenza virus, infecting humans

Lumpy skin disease virus


Peste-des-petits-ruminants virus

Ricin (reportable quantity 5 mg)

Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid)

Rinderpest virus

Vibrio cholerae (Cholera)
(serotypes O1 and O139 only)

SARS coronavirus

Yellow fever virus (non-vaccine strains)

Variola virus (Smallpox)

Yersinia pestis (Plague)