Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007
Western Australia’s defences against potentially devastating pests and diseases were strengthened with the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) coming into effect on 1 May 2013.
What the BAM Act does.
The BAM Act and associated regulations were enacted on 1 May 2013.
The new BAM Act takes the place of 16 older Acts and 27 sets of regulations with one Act and nine sets of regulations and enhances protection of the state’s $6 billion agriculture and food sector and the environment.
The BAM Act modernises the law and removes inconsistencies between previous legislation to better serve business and the community. It will also lead to greater cooperation between government, landholders, industry and the community. The main purposes of the BAM Act and its regulations are to:
• Prevent new animal and plant pests (vermin and weeds) and diseases from entering Western Australia.
• Manage the impact and spread of those pests already present in the state.
• Safely manage the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
• Increased control over the sale of agricultural products that contain violative chemical residues.
Who is affected
Agriculture may appear to be the focus of biosecurity under the name of the BAM Act, but in terms of biosecurity risks it is impractical today to consider agriculture in isolation. This is why the BAM Act is designed to facilitate cooperation between government agencies other than the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA), as well as interested groups ranging from primary producers to the general public. The new BAM Act extends to allow for the protection of industries such as forestry and aquaculture.
Major stakeholders with interests affected by BAM Act include:
• rural landholders and managers
• local and state government authorities
• freight carriers
• public transport carriers and individual travellers
• importers (commercial and private)
• stock and grain producers
• people who keep and trade declared pests
• nursery/garden businesses
• stock feeders
• fertiliser manufacturers
Thorough consultation was undertaken with stakeholders during the drafting of the Act and regulations.
Under the BAM Act the guidelines for biosecurity extend from border to post-border. New penalties can be issued by Quarantine WA to persons who contravene the regulations regarding importing potentially harmful organisms or carriers of such organisms. Not only does the BAM Act regulate interstate imports, the BAM Act also regulates interstate exports by way of quality assurance programs.
Industry and community involvement
The involvement of the whole community has also been facilitated under the BAM Act . In both pastoral and agricultural areas, groups who are tackling established declared pests which impact on the public as well as private interests may now be formally acknowledged as Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) by the Minister.
RBGs, with the agreement and support of landholders in their prescribed area, can request the Minister for Agriculture and Food to levy rates on properties in the area to fund declared pest control activities. The work undertaken by RBGs is intended to add value to pest control undertaken by individual landholders and is not intended to replace individual responsibilities.
Industry is also now able to take an active role in the management of biosecurity issues thanks to Industry Funding Schemes which are already in place for the grains/seed/hay, sheep/goats and cattle industries.
Central to the BAM Act is the Biosecurity Council, established in 2007, which is an advisory panel comprising specialists from all areas of industry to provide advice to the Minister for Agriculture and the Director General of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
The Office of State Revenue (OSR) who are responsible for the collection of the rates under the Biosecurity and Management Act (BAM) have advised that they have implemented a process whereby all tax enquiries with their office for the purpose of determining land tax liability will be reviewed to ascertain if they are liable to pay rates under the BAM Act.
If a BAM liability exist, a separate form containing specific information in relation to BAM rates will be emailed to both agents listed on the land tax enquiry by OSR. This process will be automatic and there is no need for settlement agents to lodge additional paperwork to determine if the land being sold is liable for or has existing BAMA debt.
Question 1. Are BAM amounts adjustable in the same method to land tax?
Ans: Any adjustment is a private matter between the vendor and purchaser. For clarity take note the BAM Act debt remains a first charge on the land and may be recoverable from the present owner of the land after a sale.
Q 2. Is information regarding properties locations or registered proprietors that may be subject to BAM liabilities available/searchable anywhere?
Ans: DPIRD can provide a list of the Recognised Biosecurity Groups and the shires (Local Government Area) that they cover.
Source AICWA Newsletter December 2019 & https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/bam/biosecurity-and-agriculture-management-act-2007