1.1 There are four levels of physical containment applied to facilities certified by the Regulator. These are arranged in order of ascending stringency of containment requirements, which reflect the level of risk involved in the dealings that can be undertaken at each level. The four levels are:

  • Physical Containment Level 1 (PC 1)
  • Physical Containment Level 2 (PC 2)
  • Physical Containment Level 3 (PC 3)
  • Physical Containment Level 4 (PC 4)
1.2 These levels are intended to harmonise as closely as possible with the PC levels described in AS/NZS 2243.31.

1.3 The required PC level for the containment of a dealing is governed by the gene technology legislation as follows:
  • Conditions of licences can specify the level of containment required for the conduct of the dealing. Typically such conditions will be found in a licence to conduct dealings not involving an intentional release into the environment (DNIR). However licences permitting dealings involving intentional release (DIR) of a GMO may also contain conditions requiring containment of a GMO to a specific level of containment.
  • Notifiable Low Risk Dealings (NLRDs) mentioned in Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC level 1.
  • NLRDs mentioned in 2.1 of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC level 2.
  • NLRDs mentioned in 2.2 of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC level 3.
1.4 When determining the required PC level for a DNIR involving GM micro-organisms, or GM animals or plants containing pathogenic organisms, the Regulator may be guided by the PC levels described in AS/NZS 2243.3.

1.5 The tables of example organisms in AS/NZS 2243.3 are not exhaustive and so, if applicants have any queries about which PC level is likely to be appropriate for the GMOs being dealt with in the facility, they should contact the OGTR to discuss the matter.

1.6 A PC level determined by one of the above methods is the minimum PC level at which a dealing can be conducted. A dealing may be conducted in a facility that is certified to a higher PC level, provided the higher level facility type is appropriate for the organisms involved, is certified by the Regulator, and that the conditions of certification do not prevent the dealing being conducted there.

1.7 Table 1 summarises the dealings that can be conducted at the four PC levels.

Table 1 - Physical Containment Levels

PC levelType of GMO dealings that can be conducted at PC level
1NLRDs mentioned in Part 1 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC 1.

Some DNIRs – only when permitted by licence
2 NLRDs mentioned in 2.1 of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC 2.

DNIRs – when specified by licence
3 NLRDs mentioned in 2.2 of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Regulations, as in force from 1 September 2011, must be undertaken in a facility certified by the Regulator to at least PC 3.

Other NLRDs – permitted but not recommended – all dealings (including any NLRDs) undertaken in a certified PC 3 facility must be conducted according PC 3 conditions.

DNIRs – when specified by licence
4DNIRs – when specified by licence




1Australian/New Zealand Standard 2243.3 Safety in laboratories Part 3: Microbiological aspects and containment facilities.