Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBA)
The deliberate release of harmful biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and toxins has the potential to cause significant damage to human health, the environment and the Australian economy.
In 2006, the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Report on the Regulation and Control of Biological Agents identified that the regulations in place at the time focused on safety rather than security; and that there was a need to regulate the secure storage, possession, use and transport of security sensitive biological agents to minimise the risk of use for terrorism or criminal purposes.
The aim of the SSBA Regulatory Scheme is to limit the opportunities for acts of bioterrorism or biocrime to occur using harmful biological agents and to provide a legislative framework for managing the security of SSBAs. The scheme was developed using risk management principles to achieve a balance between counter-terrorism concerns and the interests of the regulated community and aims to maintain full access to SSBAs for those with a legitimate need. The SSBA Regulatory Scheme also builds on Australia's obligations under the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
If you intend to use any agent on the list of SSBA http://www.health.gov.au/ssba#list at the University of Newcastle you must first contact the Health and Safety Team and complete a Safety Review Form in order to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place for the activity to be undertaken and to register the SSBA.
Further information about SSBA is available from the Department of Health website at http://www.health.gov.au/ssba.