Project number: 2021-048
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $190,000.00
Principal Investigator: Ingo Ernst
Organisation: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
Project start/end date: 9 Mar 2023 - 18 Dec 2025


This project is focused on improving industry and government preparedness to respond to nationally significant exotic disease outbreaks and in doing so, protect or minimise the impacts of exotic diseases on profitability and productivity. There are national preparedness arrangements in place however (fortunately) many of these have yet to be used in a real-world response, including the AQUAVETPLAN response manuals which outline technical response arrangements and the draft Aquatic Deed which outlines how costs and managing emergency responses will be shared among industry and government. Prospective parties are currently considering whether they will ratify the draft Aquatic Deed. This project is not dependent on whether the deed is ratified and can be adapted to the circumstances of existing response arrangements.

This project addresses the need to test existing contingency planning arrangements for some nationally important exotic diseases to increase shared understanding among industry and governments of their responsibilities and capabilities that they can bring to a response. The main objective is to test arrangements and identify any gaps in peace time for how a response can be undertaken most cost effectively. For governments, this includes understanding operational aspects of industry including assets that could be used for a response. For industry, it includes understanding any gaps in preparedness in particular operational gaps and identifying where and how they could be addressed in peace time.

Scenario-based discussion exercises are a cost-effective way of validating the procedures or processes and are valuable for building the knowledge and preparedness of participating organisations (governments and industry). Conducting a series of exercises based on existing contingency arrangements will contribute to closing the gaps between current capability and current needs and improve levels of preparedness for priority exotic diseases.


1. To test that technical response arrangements are fit for purpose and include sufficient practical information for use in a response.
2. Gaps in preparedness or areas of difficulty in responding to a disease outbreak are identified and solutions found without the pressure of a real-world response
3. Promote a common understanding among industry and government about roles, responsibilities and expectations during an emergency response, including at a farm, state and national level.

Related research