Australia's biological resources

Australia's biological resources are the genetic and biochemical resources found in its native species. Biological resources include genetic resources, organisms, parts of organisms, populations and any other biotic component of an ecosystem with actual or potential use or value for humanity.

Read more about Australia's biological resource management

Accessing biological resources

Find out about access arrangements and contact details for each state and territory.

Invitation to join the consultation register

People with an interest in conservation and management of genetic resources are invited to join the consultation register for Access to Biological Resources Permits. Once on the register you will be invited to comment on any permit application which might be likely to result in a more than negligible environmental impact.

The Nagoya Protocol

nagoya protocol

In November 2010 the Conference of Parties (CoP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the 'Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization'.



Investing in research and development

Australia encourages investment in research and development of these resources. Some of the advantages Australia has to offer include:

  • it is one of a few megadiverse regions in the world and has around 10 per cent of the world's species. Around 80 per cent of Australia's native species do not occur naturally anywhere else
  • well-developed capability to undertake research and development activities
  • strong legal and administrative systems to manage access to biological resources which provide legal certainty for business investment

Australia seeks to be a leader in the dynamic field of biodiscovery and, in partnership with Indigenous people, biotech companies, research scientists and managers of biodiversity, the Australian, State and Territory Governments will ensure practices and advances in biodiscovery are sustainable, inclusive and rewarding.


Accessing biological resources

Under Australia's Federal system, each government manages access to biological resources in its jurisdiction under its own laws.

In 2002 all governments endorsed the Nationally consistent approach for access to and the utilisation of Australia's native genetic and biochemical resources to promote consistency in the regulation and management of access to genetic resources.

The senior policy officers that provide information about regulatory and access arrangements to genetic resources in each Australian jurisdiction are designated as National Competent Authorities under the Convention on Biological Diversity. See a listing of National Competent Authorities

Find out how to access biological resources in Commonwealth areas.


International agreements

All Australian governments have accepted that access to biological resources in Australia should meet responsibilities under Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and utilise the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilisation.