Consultation—Traditional Knowledge in Biodiscovery Code of Practice and Guidelines

Have your say. Consultation closes 5pm on Friday 28 May 2021.

Consultation is now open on the draft Traditional Knowledge in Biodiscovery Code of Practice and Guidelines.

This consultation is the next stage in the reform of Queendland’s biodiscovery laws. These reforms aim to better protect First Nations peoples’ knowledge and support the growth of the biodiscovery industry in line with international standards.

Biodiscovery in Queensland involves the collection and analysis of native biological material (e.g. plants, animals and other organisms) for commercial applications such as pharmaceuticals and insecticides.

The Code and Guidelines provide further detail on how to meet the ‘traditional knowledge obligation’ in the Biodiscovery Act 2004. This obligation requires biodiscovery entities to take all reasonable and practical measures to ensure they only use traditional knowledge for biodiscovery under an agreement with the custodians of the knowledge.

The draft Code and Guidelines have been co-designed with the department’s Traditional Knowledge Roundtable, which includes First Nations peoples and experts in traditional knowledge, and representatives from biodiscovery entities (including universities and commercial research organisations).

The Code and Guidelines aim to:

  • Improve alignment with international frameworks such as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, which promotes the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of genetic resources.
  • Ensure Queensland continues to be a leader in scientific discovery in Australia and internationally, doing so in a way that supports First Nations peoples’ cultural rights and self-determination.
  • Support biodiscovery entities to collaborate internationally and access markets, creating job opportunities and supporting First Nations peoples to benefit in the process.

Code of Practice

The Code is designed to assist those involved in biodiscovery research, or the commercialisation of native biological material or biodiscovery research products meet the traditional knowledge obligation under the Biodiscovery Act 2004.

This obligation must be met before traditional knowledge can be used in biodiscovery.

The Code:

  • Describes the circumstances under which the traditional knowledge obligation applies, and what is meant by the use of traditional knowledge.
  • Outlines the principles, performance outcomes and minimum requirements for the use of traditional knowledge. This includes practical steps for identifying the custodians of the traditional knowledge; obtaining free, prior and informed consent for the use of the knowledge; and establishing a benefit sharing on mutually agreed terms.


The Guidelines aim to support genuine partnerships between First Nations peoples and biodiscovery entities and provide practical information on how to meet the Code requirements and implement best practice.

Make a submission

How to make a submission:

Further information

Contact the Department of Environment and Science
Phone: 3170 5863

The Department of Environment and Science will collect your name and contact details to register your submission, to update you on the status of the code and guidelines, and to inform you or seek your input on related initiatives to support implementation of the reforms to the Biodiscovery Act 2004. Submissions will be reviewed by the department and a consultation report published. While actual submissions will not be directly referred to in the report, submitters names will be listed in an appendix to the report. If you do not wish your submission to be identified in the appendix to the consultation report, and/or do not wish to be updated on the status of the code and guidelines, and/or contacted about related initiatives, please make this clear on your submission. For further privacy information please go to your privacy page. For any queries about the process please email: