Saturday 17th Nov, 2018

DEPARTMENTAL PERSPECTIVE: Big year for biosecurity

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THE past year has been busy for biosecurity in Australia.

During 2017, we managed the risks associated with the movement of approximately 21m passengers, 151m mail items and 25m containerised cargo consignments.

And, with passenger movements, mail volume and trade volume set to double by 2025, our management of biosecurity risks at the border is becoming increasingly complex.

That’s why we’re finding new ways to manage this growing challenge while continuing to facilitate the movement of people and goods through our border.

The Australian government recently announced $313m for new biosecurity measures to continue to build a smarter and stronger biosecurity system to protect our agricultural industries and environment.

This includes $7.7m to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of biosecurity operations, such as trialling and implementing emerging technologies to enhance screening and detection capabilities across the traveller, mail and cargo pathways.

A $25.2m Biosecurity Innovation Program will also invest in smart technology, including potential solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our biosecurity clearance activities.

And while we look into new technology and learn how it can meet our changing biosecurity needs, we continue to manage our daily biosecurity operations and make crucial business improvements for our clients.

A recent example of this is the improved efficiency for lodging import documentation through new enhancements to the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS).

Commercial importers and customs brokers have been using the system to lodge their documents online over the past few years.

COLS now automatically retrieves consignment information from the department’s import management system, AIMS, using a client’s consignment entry number and broker identification number.

This feature has improved efficiency for clients by reducing the amount of personal and consignment-specific information they need to enter – from about 25 fields to just three.

In combination with AIMS data, COLS automatically prioritises consignments for documentation assessment based on urgency.

There’s improved efficiencies to payment processes – COLS now recognises payments made by clients through their third-party cargo logistics software prior to lodgement and also allows the processing of payments through the department’s online payment system.

COLS also supports the lodgement and auditing of documentation for clients using the enhanced automatic entry processing capability. Feedback from industry has been positive.

Prior to the update, 70% of lodgements were rated urgent.

With automatic prioritisation, 24% of consignments are now rated urgent; this ensures that priority is given to the processing of perishable and other time-critical commodities.

* Nico Padovan is head of biosecurity operations, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

This article appeared in the August edition of DCN Magazine



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