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Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer Update

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FINIA has been working with the University of Melbourne’s Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis on the ‘Future Pest’ project – identifying tools and strategies for minimising the risks of new priority pests, weeds and pathogens running amok at K’gari.  The project was championed by the Australian Government’s Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer (CEBO), Dr Ian Thompson, who retired late last year.

In a short period, Ian, Australia’s inaugural CEBO, built a solid foundation for Australia’s environmental biosecurity system. It was a fitting end to a distinguished 43-year-long career in the federal government public service, and we acknowledge his contribution to the future management of K’gari.

In April, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment announced that Dr Robyn Cleland had been appointed as the new Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer. Deputy Secretary of Biosecurity and Compliance, Andrew Tongue, said that Dr Cleland brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the role.

“She has worked across the portfolios of Agriculture, Health and Environment, working in policy, compliance and regulation. Her scientific expertise spans biosecurity, plant health, biotechnology, food, ecology and agriculture.”

The role of the Chief Environmental Biosecurity Officer is to liaise between the government and the community to raise awareness and build Australia’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks.

“This is a hugely important role, charged with protecting Australia’s unique wildlife, our way of life, and our status as a clean, green exporter of high-quality food.”

Dr Cleland has worked with State, and Territory jurisdictions, NGOs, and the community across several national regulatory schemes and has extensive experience in engaging with diverse stakeholders across contentious issues. We welcome Dr Cleland to this vital role and acknowledge the significant support of Dr Ian Thompson. We wish him well in his retirement. 

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