​​The Gene Technology Act, which came into force on 21 June 2001, introduces a national scheme for the regulation of genetically modified organisms in Australia, in order to protect the health and safety of Australians and the Australian environment by identifying risks posed by or as a result of gene technology, and to manage those risks by regulating certain dealings with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

IBC application forms and guidance can be found on the Standard forms page.


Amongst other things, this national Act "prohibits persons from dealing with GMOs (e.g. research, manufacture, production, commercial release and import) unless the dealing is authorised in accordance with the Act". This covers any experiment involving the construction and/or propagation of viruses, prokaryotic or eukaryotic​ cells or organisms of novel genotype as a result of genetic manipulation which are either unlikely to occur in nature or likely to pose biosafety risks to the environment or human health and safety.

Any researcher planning work in this area MUST submit an application describing the project, regardless of whether he/she personally considers the work safe and/or exempt, to the Royal North Shore Hospital Institutional Biosafety Committee (RNSH IBC). The RNSH IBC is answerable to the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator, Canberra, and is empowered to recommend exemption from the guidelines.

Work should not commence without IBC approval. There are significant sanctions imposed on non-compliance including the thre​at of fines and/or imprisonment for the individual researcher.

Click here for Standard forms for IBC applications and reporting​.

If you would like to speak to someone about the Institutional BioSafety Committee (IBC) please contact the Governance and Compliance Team through our contact us page.