Agriculture moves to build Australia's new biosecurity system

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Agriculture moves to build Australia's new biosecurity system

Calls for integration partner.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is quietly moving forward with the agile build of Australia's new biosecurity system.

The department recently called on prospective partners to help build the biosecurity integrated information and analytics system (BIISA) and interconnect the platform with existing legacy systems.

It has been working on the system since early last year to improve information flows across the department and better support 2000-plus staff to make biosecurity risk decisions.

The system is one of the central outcomes of the 2016 Agricultural Competiveness White Paper [pdf], which called for a need to modernise the department's “paper-based, cumbersome and slow” traceability system.

“With biosecurity risks on the rise, better surveillance and intelligence are needed to safeguard Australian from these threats,” the report states.

“Fast and effective traceability systems are critical to provide the assurance required by trading partners to maintain market access.”

The new data analytics capability was funded with $15.9 million in the 2016 federal budget to improve the way the department manages biosecurity risks.

The department went looking for technical design assistance last October and recently finished “an extensive planning and design” process.

It has now begun hunting an integration partner or partners to work with it to “develop, build and integrate” the system from July using a “hybrid-agile” approach.

As such the department expects the partner to be well-versed in “contemporary deployment, design and implementation capability”, including containerisation and Azure cloud design.

The system will “replace some legacy biosecurity systems and create digital solutions to support business functions where none currently exist”, but the department hopes to reuse its existing technologies where possible.

“The program has undertaken a number of proof of concept activities to assess the suitability of the department’s available software applications and platform to deliver against the requirements of the BIISA,” it said in a brief posed on the digital marketplace.

“Some of these products were not deemed fit for purpose and the program has, through this process, confirmed the software that will be used and how the department existing technologies will be adopted.”

The development work will be conducted within the department’s “infrastructure as a service (IAAS) and Azure cloud” environment.

“The key technical challenges include developing a modern flexible solution that also integrates with legacy capability, the need to progressively transition users from an old to new system environment and maintain data integration across all platforms," the department said.

The project will also see the development of “an integrated data environment that supports the BIISA applications and analytics activities”.

The work is expected to cost up to $10 million in the first year, with the possibility for extensions of up to a further two years.

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