Senior Biosecurity Officer

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Geelong, Surf Coast, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

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Job Posted: 31/10/2018

Job Category:

Primary Industry / Agronomist / Agriculture

Job description:
  • APS Level 4 (Policy & Technical) - $65,998 - $71,634
  • Avalon Airport - 80 Beach Road, Lara VIC 3212
  • Contact Officer: David Steward (03) 8318 8224

The role of the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is to develop and implement policies and programs that ensure Australia's agricultural, fisheries, food and forestry industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable. As part of this, the department safeguards Australia’s animal and plant health status to maintain overseas markets and protect the economy and environment from the impact of exotic pests and diseases through risk assessment, inspection and certification, and the implementation of emergency response arrangements for Australian agricultural, food and fibre industries.

Biosecurity plays a critical role in reducing risk and shaping our nation to become one of the few countries in the world to remain free from the world’s most severe pests and diseases. With more than 60,000 kilometres of coastline offering a variety of pathways for exotic pests and diseases, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources screens, inspects and clears the millions of people, mail parcels, baggage, ships, animals, plants and cargo containers entering Australia every year using x–ray machines, and surveillance.

Australia works across the whole biosecurity continuum with offshore, at the border and onshore measures. The department uses a range of sophisticated technologies and approaches including research, shared international resources and intelligence to help prevent the introduction and spread of disease. Surveillance and monitoring of risk areas is also critical along with border control activities, which focus on assessing and managing potential biosecurity threats at Australia’s airports, seaports, and international mail centres.

Today, biosecurity controls at Australia’s borders minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia and protect our $32 billion agriculture export industries as well as our unique environment, native flora and fauna, our tourism industries and lifestyle.

Who we are
The Inspection Services Group (ISG) delivers services to verify compliance with Australia’s biosecurity and export market requirements. ISG works as a team to anticipate risk and acts quickly and effectively to protect our economy, environment and communities.

What we do
Biosecurity officers operate within a dynamic and risk-based environment to inspect people, goods, aircraft and ships to safeguard Australia’s biosecurity and export markets. Biosecurity officers are involved in response to emerging risks and incidents pre-border, border and post-border.

ISG delivers services nationally and in Australia’s off-shore territories. ISG undertake risk assessment and inspection activities across import and export commodities and pathways at airports, seaports, mail centres, in-office locations and third-party premises.

Who we work with
The department’s clients include individuals and businesses who import or export goods, brokerage and freight facilitation services, airlines, shipping lines and international travellers. Our clients range from individuals with one-off dealings with the department – like tourists entering Australia or individuals receiving goods purchased over the internet – to professional couriers, freight transporters and importers/exporters who may deal with the department on a daily basis.

The department routinely works with other Commonwealth Government departments and state and territory jurisdictions, including:

• Department of Home Affairs
• Department of Health
• Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand
• Department of Defence and overseas military forces
• Australian Federal Police
• Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
• State and Territory equivalent agriculture and biosecurity organisations

The Jobs
The role of a Senior Biosecurity Officer can at times be strenuous and physically demanding, and involves a combination of office based and field based work. Depending on the specific work area the role could require you to drive between an office and a third party premise(s), work outside in the elements, be office based and/or require prolonged periods of standing whilst conducting inspections. The roles may involve the following responsibilities:

• Undertaking a regulatory role to manage biosecurity through risk management and scientific based evidence.
• Conducting screening of international aircraft, cargo, passengers and crew.
• Inspecting baggage and cargo to detect items of biosecurity concern.
• Managing goods that do not comply with import/export requirements and capturing information to support evidence-based decisions.
• Representing the department whilst undertaking inspections, engaging directly with industry, passengers or stakeholders to explain procedures and processes with which they are required to comply.
• Assisting senior staff with technical, administrative and managerial support.
• Providing timely and accurate advice on complex biosecurity matters to peers, clients, senior managers and other government departments.
• Participating in, and contributing to, the department’s corporate objectives whilst supporting change management.
• Contributing to continuous improvement in work practices and standard operating procedures.
• Identifying trends in biosecurity risks and escalating these to assist in intelligence and risk-based activities.
• Working effectively and safely to achieve sound outcomes in an often busy and challenging environment.

Please note that this selection process will be used to fill several non-ongoing vacancies for an initial period of 12-18 months with the possibility of extension up to a maximum of three years in total. Some of these non-ongoing positions may become ongoing in the next 12 months. Should a position become ongoing then the merit pool established through this selection process may be used to fill the vacancy on an ongoing basis. A merit pool will be established from this recruitment process which may be used to fill future ongoing and non-ongoing vacancies that arise in ISG.

Knowledge and experience
Knowledge (or the ability to quickly acquire such knowledge) of the department’s activities and the role of a Senior Biosecurity Officer.

Skills and capabilities
• Show good judgement and decision making whilst working independently with minimal supervision.
• The ability to quickly acquire and apply an understanding of legislation, systems and processes.
• The ability to provide on-the-job training and assist and support other employees whilst valuing individual differences and diversity.
• The ability to resolve routine problems, and escalate complex problems accordingly, whilst identifying and utilising resources wisely.
• The ability to apply and build professional expertise and respond positively to change.
• Display high-level customer service skills, communicate clearly, both in writing and verbally and listen to, understand and adapt communication to the audience.
• Work effectively in a team environment, building and sustaining collaborative relationships.

Successful applicants will participate in the departments’ biosecurity training on commencement, with an initial face-to-face induction and core unit session held during regular business hours. They will also be required to undertake training and assessment under the Biosecurity competency and verification framework and meet the minimum requirements in order to be appointed as a Biosecurity Officer under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Once suitably trained and assessed, Senior Biosecurity Officers can expect to be deployed across multiple functions and commodities in response to business needs within their location under the flexible deployment principles. This may include screening of commercial cargo and commodities, and performing a range of inspections on imported and exported goods, ships and aircraft to confirm compliance with Australia’s biosecurity and export market requirements. Flexible deployment will require you to work at locations outside of Avalon Airport. Successful applicants will be provided further details prior to commencement in the role.

Eligibility/Other requirements
These positions require a Baseline security clearance. The successful applicants will be required to obtain and maintain a clearance at this level. To be eligible for employment with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, an applicant must be an Australian citizen. An applicant's suitability for employment with the department will be assessed through a pre-employment screening process. This process includes a requirement for the applicant to undergo and satisfy a National Police Check, referee checks, character clearance and where relevant a pre-employment medical assessment, specified mandatory qualification(s) validation and a probation period of 6 months. Any applicant that, in the course of their work, requires unescorted access within an aviation or maritime security zone will be required to obtain and maintain an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) or Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC).

The successful applicants must:

• hold and maintain a valid Australian motor vehicle drivers licence
• meet Department of Agriculture and Water Resources health and security requirements
• wear appropriate protective personal equipment and clothing to comply with departmental Work Health & Safety policies and procedures
• wear an official uniform supplied by the department
• note that the physical requirements of the role(s) involve a combination of outdoor and office-based work
• note that the ability to perform shift work is a requirement when applying for this position(s)
• obtain and maintain an Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) and Airside Licence
note that you may be required to work in different locations based on operational requirements.

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