Biodiscovery Bill for Western Australia

Developing legislation for fair and equitable access to the State’s genetic resources.

A Biodiscovery Bill for WA will provide a framework for accessing the State’s genetic plant and animal resources. The aim is to ensure any benefits from these resources are shared on mutually agreed terms.

What is biodiscovery?

Katherine Landwehr in a lab holding a glass

Biodiscovery is the act of undertaking research and analysis on genetic resources, such as native flora and fauna, and identifying components of value.

The outcomes that are produced by biodiscovery may have a commercial or scientific value. For example, using natural compounds found in a native plant to create new medicines or cosmetics.

 

Why does WA need Biodiscovery legislation?

WA has some of the world’s most diverse plant and animal life, and is home to 8 of Australia’s 15 biodiversity hotspots. This presents opportunities for researchers and businesses from around the world to develop products like new medicines, cosmetics and biotechnologies.

This Bill will be consistent with the Nagoya Protocol. We will consult with Aboriginal communities in WA on the development of the Bill. If traditional knowledge about a WA genetic resource is shared and used in a commercial biodiscovery activity, these communities can then share in the benefits. 

Page reviewed 2 September 2022