Micro-organisms were the first forms of life on earth and have evolved into the most ecologically, genetically and metabolically diverse species known. Micro-organisms belong to all three Domains of life: The Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya as well as the Viruses. They have shaped the evolution of the planet and continue to nurture and sustain the environment, plants and animals on which human society depends. While we continue to face difficulties posed by emerging animal, plant and human pathogens, most microorganisms are beneficial. Exploitation of microbial genetic diversity has been fundamental to advances made in biodiscovery and biotechnology. Micro-organisms are major sources of important pharmaceutical and industrial products for worldwide community benefits in health, agriculture and industry. Cultures of micro-organisms have been essential for the production of enzymes, fermentation products and metabolites. With advances in molecular biology, genes of micro-organisms and whole natural communities are being exploited and fuelling accelerated interest in biodiscovery. The OECD is strongly promoting that biological resource centres are essential to underpin advances in biotechnology, the life sciences and the bioeconomy. Microbial resource centres are more than collections. They work within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that was implemented to support the conservation and utilisation of biodiversity and recognises the principles of fair and equitable benefit sharing. They preserve and provide authenticated, genetically stable microbial and cell cultures, provide access to information on cultures and their characteristics, and undertake identification and description of new species. In Australia, the Council of Heads of Australian Collections of Micro-organisms is collaborating with the NCRIS Atlas of Living Australia project to develop the Australian Microbial Resources Information Network (AMRiN) integrated collections database to provide access to information on Australian microbial cultures for use in research, industry, government and education.