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Contravening a Human Biosecurity Emergency Requirement or Direction

Contravening a Human Biosecurity Emergency Requirement or Direction is an offence under section 479 of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. A human biosecurity emergency requirement had been imposed under section 477 of the Biosecurity Act (‘the Act’), or a human biosecurity emergency direction had been given under section 478 of the Act
  2. The requirement or direction applied to you
  3. You engaged in conduct, and
  4. Your conduct contravened the requirement or direction.

The Governor-General may declare a human biosecurity emergency if the Health Minister is satisfied that:

  1. A listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale, and
  2. The declaration is necessary to prevent or control:
  • The entry of the disease into Australia, or
  • The emergence, establishment or spread of the disease in Australia

A human biosecurity emergency declaration can last no longer than the health minister considers it necessary to prevent or control:

  1. The entry of the listed human disease into Australia, or
  2. The emergence, establishment or spread of the disease in Australia

It cannot, in any case, last longer than 3 months however, the declaration can be renewed an unlimited number of times if the health minister is satisfied that:

  1. The disease continues to pose a severe and immediate threat, or continues to cause harm to human health on a nationally significant scale, and
  2. The extension is necessary to prevent or control:
  • The entry of the disease into Australia, or
  • The emergence, establishment or spread of the disease in Australia

The health minister is empowered to impose requirements necessary to prevent or control:

  1. The entry of the declared listed human disease into Australia
  2. The emergence, establishment or spread of the disease in Australia, or
  3. The spread of the disease to another country.

These requirements can, among other things:

  1. Apply to persons, goods or conveyances when entering or leaving specified places
  2. Restrict or prevent the movement of persons, goods or conveyances in or between specified places, and
  3. Require the evacuation of specified places.

The health minister is empowered to give directions during a human biosecurity period that are necessary to prevent or control:

  1. The entry of the declared listed human disease into Australia
  2. The emergence, establishment or spread of the disease in Australia, or
  3. The spread of the disease to another country.

Directions are permissible provided they are necessary to facilitate the imposed human biosecurity emergency requirements.

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