17 December 2015

Mediterranean fruit flyNew biosecurity laws for Queensland will make managing biosecurity risks everyone’s responsibility.

The introduction of a general biosecurity obligation under the new Biosecurity Act 2014, which is expected to come into force in early 2016, will mean that Queenslanders will have to take an active role in managing biosecurity risks under their control.

A biosecurity risk exists when you deal with any pest, disease or contaminant. This includes moving an animal, plant, turf, soil, machinery and equipment that could carry a pest, disease or contaminant.

A number of other states in Australia are also in the process of reviewing their biosecurity acts, and the general biosecurity obligation is expected to be part of the laws in each state.

Under the Queensland act, individuals and organisations whose activities pose a biosecurity risk will have greater legal responsibility for managing them. You will need to take all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise the risk of causing a biosecurity ‘event’ and limit the consequences of such an event. A biosecurity event is caused by a pest, disease or contaminant that is, or is likely to become, a significant problem for human health, social amenity, the economy or the environment.

You will not be expected to know about all biosecurity risks, but you will be expected to know about those associated with your day-to-day work and your hobbies. For example:

  • Growers and owners of livestock will be expected to stay informed about and appropriately manage the pests and diseases that could affect or be carried by their crops and livestock, as well as weeds and pest animals that could be on their property.
  • Land owners will be expected to stay informed about and appropriately manage the weeds and pest animals (such as wild dogs) that could be on their property.
  • Transporters of agricultural produce will be expected to check whether the transportation of goods could spread diseases or pests and, if so, to manage the risks appropriately.
  • If you live or work in a biosecurity zone (for example a builder or developer in the fire ant biosecurity zone), you will be expected to know what can and cannot move in to and out of the zone, and any other precautions required.
  • Residential gardeners will be expected to know the basics about reducing the risks of spreading a pest or disease, and the problem pests in their local area. They will not be expected to know about all of the biosecurity risks to plants.

To learn more about the new biosecurity laws in Queensland, download the information brochure or contact 13 25 23.

Acknowledgement: The information in this article was compiled using Queensland Government sources