SSBA Newsletter Issue 28 - December 2018

Security Sensitive Biological Agents Regulatory Scheme Newsletter.

Page last updated: 11 December 2018

PDF printable version of SSBA Newsletter Issue 28 - December 2018 (PDF 710 KB)

National Health Security Regulations 2018

The National Health Security Regulations 2018 sunsetted on 1 October 2018.

Over 2018, the Department of Health worked closely with the Office of Parliamentary Council to have the regulations re-made prior to the sunset date.

On 30 August 2018, the National Health Security Regulations 2018 came into force with minor amendments to ensure the regulations were updated in line with current drafting practices and preferences.

No changes were made to the regulations that affect the day to day operation of the SSBA Regulatory Scheme.

The National Health Security Regulations 2018 can be found at: the Federal Register of Legislation website.

WHO Joint External Evaluation - Australia

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to assess country level compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). One pillar of this framework is the Joint External Evaluation (JEE), a voluntary process in which a team of internal and external experts jointly assess a country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats across 19 core capacities of the IHR, including Biosafety and Biosecurity, National Laboratory System and Linking Public Health and Security Agencies. The JEE is completed in two-stages: an initial self-evaluation followed by an in-country evaluation conducted by an external evaluation team.

Australia’s external evaluation of IHR compliance took place in late 2017 and a final report was published by the WHO in May 2018. The external evaluation team recognised Australia’s governance systems and comprehensive legislation to implement the IHRs across all levels of government as a key strength. The JEE Mission Report formalises the recommendations and priority actions discussed during the JEE and includes 66 recommendations across the 19 core capacities.

Australia’s mission report can be found at the WHO website.

RCPA QAP Biosecurity Program

The Department of Health supports the operation of the RCPA QAP Biosecurity program for the detection of biological agents of security concern. The program offers surveys free of charge to Australian laboratories and for a fee to approved overseas laboratories with a view to building and enhancing laboratory capacity and capability to detect, analyse, identify and report on these agents. The program offers a range of learning modes including specimen modules, virtual modules, an eLearning program, simulated biopreparedness exercises and targeted biosecurity webinars and workshops.

Further information may be obtained from the RCPA QAP Biosecurity program at: biosecurity@rcpaqap.com.au.

Identity Checks

Identity checking is a critical component of the SSBA Regulatory Scheme to establish that a person is who they claim to be. Under the SSBA Standards, an identity check is required to be conducted by a registered entity, prior to authorising a person under clause 3.3 (Authorised Persons).

If a person is required to undergo a National Health Security (NHS) check, the identity check must be completed prior to submission of the NHS check application to AusCheck.

AusCheck’s new platform

The AusCheck System is used by registered entities to conduct National Health Security checks for the purposes of the SSBA Regulatory Scheme.

The AusCheck system replacement was successfully released on 1 October and is now operational. System enhancements will continue to be developed to deliver new capabilities and to improve automation and efficiencies. Ongoing support is available via email and through the AusCheck enquiries line at (02) 6141 2000 or via email AusCheck@homeaffairs.gov.au.

Reminder

For an agent on the List of SSBAs to be considered an SSBA it must live, viable and pathogenic.

SSBA Mailing List

Please remember to notify the SSBA Regulatory Scheme if your contact details change.

The SSBA Regulatory Scheme uses a mailing list to send out the SSBA newsletter and other information about the scheme.

If you need to update your contact details, or would like to be added to the SSBA mailing list, please email your details to SSBA Inbox.

Feedback

We welcome your feedback.

If you would like to provide feedback or discuss any aspect of the SSBA Regulatory Scheme, please contact us at SSBA Inbox.  Check out our website at: Security Sensitive Biological Agents website.

SSBA Guidelines and Fact Sheets

SSBA Guidelines and Fact Sheets are available to provide information to stakeholders on topics of particular interest related to the SSBA Regulatory Scheme. Stakeholders are welcome to suggest areas of interest that may warrant the development of further Guidelines and Fact Sheets.

The Fact Sheets and Guidelines may be found at: