Biosecurity officer

What they do

Biosecurity officers work at checkpoints across Western Australia to prevent unwanted pests, weeds and diseases being brought into the state. They control the movement of agricultural and horticultural produce, and examine incoming and outgoing animals, plants, food, humans and machinery. They may screen and inspect mail parcels, baggage, cargo containers and ships entering Western Australia. They identify anything that poses a biosecurity risk and these items may be confiscated or destroyed.

Working conditions

Biosecurity officers work in airports, ports, mail centres, in the field, and at border crossings throughout Western Australia. They may also work inspecting aircrafts, or vessels in open water. Biosecurity officers may be required to travel between locations or work in regional areas.

Biosecurity officers may need to work shiftwork, including weekends and public holidays.

Tools and technologies

Biosecurity officers use equipment such as X-ray machines to screen mail parcels and baggage, and detector dogs are used to locate materials that pose a quarantine risk. They may also administer special treatments, tests and washes on livestock entering into the state. Biosecurity officers use computers to perform research, write reports, and produce documentation to record the movement of agricultural products.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a biosecurity officer, you must first become an employee of either the Western Australian Government Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) or the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

Contact the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development or Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for more information.

Entry into specialist roles within this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in agricultural science, biological sciences, animal science or a related area.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Murdoch University offers a six-month Graduate Certificate in Plant Biosecurity and an 18-month Master of Biosecurity. These are the only degrees specialising in biosecurity available in Western Australia. Contact Murdoch University for more information.

Required registration and licensing

Applicants must be an Australian citizen, and need to hold a current National Police Certificate, pass medical checks, and may also need to hold a driver’s licence to drive manual vehicles.

Contact the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for more information.

You may also be interested in