The Queensland Government is reviewing theBiodiscovery Act 2004 (Qld). Those who use genetic resources for commercial biodiscovery – such as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and venture capital/investment funds – should consider making a submission to the review before its closing date of midnight, 29 June 2015.

The terms of reference for the Act's review are broad, including the purposes, structure and effectiveness of the Act. Our previous Focus summarised the current regulatory framework for biodiscovery activities in Queensland. The review invites recommendations for amendments to the Act, or alternatives to legislation, which would improve the effectiveness, fairness, timeliness and accessibility of the regulatory system. 

The Federal Government proposed significant changes to the regulation of biodiscovery last year, when it released its preferred model for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Our previous Focus detailed the changes proposed by the model and its implications for research and commercialisation pathways. 

The Nagoya Protocol entered into force on 12 October 2014. Australia has signed – but not yet ratified – the Protocol. It remains to be seen how the current review process in Queensland will accommodate emerging national trends and international developments.