As the developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic evolve, we are writing to our regulated community to advise you about current arrangements for business with the OGTR.

Business as usual

We wish to reassure you that we remain open for business. We have staff available during standard working hours to respond to your queries through normal communication channels. Although some of our staff may be working remotely, we are continuing to receive and assess applications and are endeavouring to meet statutory timelines. We remain committed to ensuring the risk-based approach to our assessments continues in a timely and transparent manner.

We do ask, however, that you avoid directing queries regarding routine business to individual officers going forward. Please use the online forms and the generic email addresses available. When in doubt use ogtr@health.gov.au or ogtr.applications@health.gov.au.

We also ask you to ensure that your key organisational contacts are up to date. Having the correct contact details for key people is especially important under the current circumstances. Please use the new online form for this purpose.

Are you unable, or do you foresee you may be unable to meet regulatory requirements?

Protecting people and the environment by managing risks related to work with GMOs remains our highest priority. However, we recognise the difficulties our regulated community are experiencing. We encourage you to contact us immediately if your organisation is unable, or foresees that it may become unable, to meet its obligations under Australia’s gene technology legislation. Please contact us via one of the following dedicated means:

Email: OGTR.Alerts@health.gov.au
Phone: 1800 181 030

For example, if you anticipate being unable to meet any licence conditions or may have challenges meeting the requirements of your facility certifications, contact us immediately. Your queries will be prioritised and managed in a timely fashion by our staff.

Moving forward

The news around COVID-19 is constantly changing as steps are being rolled out to slow the spread. We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and provide updates if our situation changes. We encourage you to read all updates we send to you and we will endeavour to ensure this advice is wherever possible duplicated on the OGTR website. General advice about managing certified facilities and licences is available.

We will do our best to monitor and maintain the level of service we are providing to you. However, as with all sectors of the community in this difficult time, our Office is impacted and we appreciate your patience. Over time, we will re-evaluate practices and will return to normal operations only when it is safe to do so.

Your safety and the safety of OGTR staff is important to us. We thank you for your efforts during this extraordinary time.