Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility
More and more Tasmanians are enjoying the lifestyle of having a few acres, having a few animals, growing some of their own food. Smallholder producers and hobby farmers range from people with a few backyard chooks and a vegie patch through to those who are making serious attempts to obtain some level of income from the land.
Whether you are smallholder or hobby farmer, large scale commercial producer, or new to the business of small or large scale farming – planning for and implementing effective biosecurity practices on your property is a vital component of your
General Biosecurity Duty (GBD). A weed, pest or disease incursion on your property could result in irreparable damage - and could also quickly spread to adjoining properties.
Being a small landholder or hobby farmer in Tasmania means that you have an important role to play in helping to protect your property, our primary industries and the state from the impact of pests, weeds and disease.
It is important for new smallholders or hobby farmers to understand biosecurity issues, as this can affect not just themselves but everyone else in the community. All landholders - small, new and commercial - need to take their biosecurity and animal welfare responsibilities – and legal obligations - seriously. The following web pages and documents provide some basic information to help you understand these obligations and responsibilities in weed management, plant and animal diseases, animal management, movement and sale of animals, and governance of food safety regarding animal products.
General Biosecurity Duty
Biosecurity Act 2019 introduces to Tasmania a new legal obligation known as the General Biosecurity Duty – or GBD. This confers a statutory ‘duty of care’ in respect to biosecurity. This means that any ‘person’ (which includes all levels of Government, individuals, and private corporate entities) has to take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise biosecurity risks.
Under the GBD, any person dealing with plants or animals (or their derived products) who knows, or reasonably ought to know, that a biosecurity risk is posed, or is likely to be posed, has a legal duty to ensure that the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.
For more information about your responsibilities under the GBD, and more broadly under the
Biosecurity Act 2019, see:
Learning good biosecurity – tips and support
What is biosecurity?
What does it mean for you?
How does it work?
What can you do to help to keep Tasmania safe from the impacts of pests, weeds and diseases?
There are many online biosecurity learning and information resources as well as organisations, agencies and groups that can assist and support the small landholder in meeting their biosecurity responsibilities. Our Learning About Biosecurity webpage provides information and links to many of these resources, including
Farm Biosecurity and
Information sheets have been provided below to help you develop a plan for your property and visitors to your property.
Develop a Biosecurity Plan
Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan for your property is a key step you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of pests, weeds and disease on your property. They are also a good way to educate staff, visitors and clients on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the website Farm Biosecurity is a great starting point.
Important Biosecurity Actions
Biosecurity vigilance (also known as
Notification of a Biosecurity Event)
If you SEE something on your property or place of employment that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or diseases, or invasive animal species;
SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then
REPORT it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible.
Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.
Plant Biosecurity Resources
It is important to minimise the threat to Tasmania’s environment, primary industries and public health from disease and pest risks associated with plants and plant products.
For more information on biosecurity for plants and plant materials a list of resources are listed below:
Invasive Species - General
An invasive species is an introduced animal or plant that poses a significant threat to Tasmania's biodiversity, agriculture, community or economy.
You can help reduce the impact and spread of invasive species by being a responsible pet owner, and by reporting sightings of strange or unusual animals and plants to Biosecurity Tasmania. If appropriate, work with licenced pest controllers and Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas), where required, in the control and management of pest animals, such as rabbits, on your property.
Weeds have a significant impact on the Tasmanian environment and economy. It is important to understand your responsibilities in the control of
declared weeds on your property and take all reasonable measures to limit their impact and spread.
To reduce the risk of common garden plants (or aquarium plants) becoming
environmental weeds – consider composting all green waste within your own contained composting system to be used again on your property or, alternatively, utilise council green waste bins and facilities. Do not illegally dump green waste into the environment.
The weeds webpages contain a comprehensive suite of information covering declared and non-declared weeds, control guides, statutory management plans, together with additional links and resources.
Food safety and product integrity resources
Ensuring food produced in Tasmania's primary production and processing sectors is safe to eat is an important step in ensuring the wellbeing of consumers. It is also important to the protection of Tasmania's reputation as a producer of safe and clean food to allow ongoing market access and premium prices for Tasmania products.
Food Safety webpage provides extensive information on what is expected in food production and outlines the legislative controls existing for specific commodities.
Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (AgVet)
Always ensure that agricultural and veterinary chemicals (AgVet) are used as per label, or applicable off-label permit (i.e. appropriately to minimise risk to human health, animal health, plant health and the environment). Find out more about
AgVet chemical use in Tasmania.
Livestock and other animals
A number of resources are available to help you with your animal management. Please feel free to download any or all of these documents and keep them handy for future reference. It is important to understand that they are for general guidance only and livestock owners should always seek advice from a veterinarian for their specific circumstances. Please keep checking these pages for any updated to information.
Visit our animal biosecurity webpages to access these resources.
Property identification and the registration of animals
Owners of a property with one or more head of cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, or that commercially farm poultry for meat or eggs, must apply for a Property Identification Code (PIC). Owners of properties with animals such as horses and alpacas, or that are engaging in any form of primary industries enterprise, including horticulture, are strongly encouraged to register for a PIC. Your PIC should be updated at least bi-annually, or as your specific situation changes.
Register your property with a
Property Identification Code (PIC).
If you sell or move livestock sell or move livestock from one property to another, or transport animals for slaughter, these animals must be identified under the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and travel with the correct documentation.
Information for smallholders and hobby farmers is an information sheet tailored to help small landholders understand their responsibilities.
The Livestock Identification web page provides you with the links for registration for PIC and NLIS.
Hobby Farmers and the NLIS (PDF 304Kb)
Animal Management and Emergency Planning Resources
Regularly check gates, fences and enclosures and repair any damage to prevent the escape or entry of livestock or other animals.
Engage the services of a veterinarian and maintain a working relationship to help manage the health and welfare requirements of your livestock or other animals as required.
Monitor your animals regularly for signs of sickness. If your animals do get sick, get them checked by a vet to make sure they don’t have a notifiable disease.
Engage veterinarian help for any sick or injured animals as soon as practicable. If death is confirmed, ensure that the carcass of any animal on or in the premises is buried, burned or otherwise suitably disposed of within a reasonable time after the carcass has been discovered. Ensure that dogs are not able to access offal from carcasses due to hydatids risk.
Ensure that when you move livestock from one property to another, or transport animals for slaughter, all animals are fit to load for the intended journey and meet all other health requirements.
Send your livestock to an accredited abattoir for slaughter or engage a mobile butchery service to attend your premise to produce meat for your own consumption.
Apply animal welfare requirements, as described in relevant legislation, codes of practice, guidelines and quality assurance programs.
Animals and emergency planning
For reporting exotic (new) pests, weeds or diseases, please call the:
Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881 or the
Emergency Animal Disease Hotline: 1800 675 858
Importing items into Tasmania
If you are purchasing goods from outside Tasmania for your business (especially stockfeed, seeds, plants and plant products, live animals or some animal products such as semen) you first need to check whether they are permitted to be imported into Tasmania, or may have import conditions that need to be met even before they are imported. Please visit the Biosecurity Tasmania website for more information:
Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania (PDF 3Mb)
Tasmanian Animal Biosecurity Manual (PDF 1Mb)
All imported items that may be of biosecurity concern (eg. stockfeed, seeds, plants and plant products, live animals and animal products) must be presented to Biosecurity Tasmania for inspection at an Approved Quarantine Place (AQP). It is the responsibility of the importer to determine an appropriate AQP and make a booking for inspection with Biosecurity Tasmania once the AQP has confirmed they will accept the consignment.
If you are importing equipment or machinery, you need to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that they are cleaned and free of all soil, seeds and plant matter prior to arriving in Tasmania, as per Import Requirement 39 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania. Some machinery, such as viticultural equipment, may have to meet additional import requirements.
If you are importing seeds in consignments under 1kg as per Import Requirement 36 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania, ensure that they are sourced from an approved supplier, or consider applying to become a registered importer if you plan on importing seeds on a regular basis.
Animal Health and Welfare Information Sheets
Alpacas (PDF 230Kb)
AHL Labfact Getting the best from your Wormtest (PDF 116Kb)
Cattle and the Smallholder (PDF 136Kb)
For further information: