Who else needs a Biosecurity Plan in Queensland?
Livestock Biosecurity Network and Local Government Association of Queensland
From Warwick to Mareeba, one of the most consistent biosecurity concerns from producers that attended LBN biosecurity workshops was invasive weeds and pest management. But did you know that in Queensland our legislation is set up to manage biosecurity as a shared responsibility and it’s not just livestock producers who are required to have a biosecurity plan?
Biosecurity plans are not limited to just livestock properties, they are a proactive and practical approach to capturing risks to your business. But did you know that by law your local councils also have to have a biosecurity plan?
Local Council Biosecurity Plans
The Biosecurity Act 2014 commenced on 1 July 2016 and introduces the concept of shared responsibility meaning that everybody has an obligation to ensure the biosecurity of Queensland.
The General Biosecurity Obligation
The General Biosecurity Obligation (GBO) was introduced to encourage individuals, industry and government to be proactive in preventing, managing and addressing biosecurity risks that relate to them. The introduction of the GBO provides flexibility in the management of invasive species, as it requires responses to be specifically matched to the level of harm or risk posed.
Council responsibilities relate directly to ‘Invasive Biosecurity Matter’. The term ‘biosecurity matter’ is used to describe any living thing that isn’t human including pathogens of plants and animals, and some contaminants. A biosecurity matter is further broken down into prohibited matters and restricted matters. A ‘prohibited matter’ is one not currently established in Queensland, but would have a detrimental impact on human health, social amenity, the economy and natural environment.
Prohibited matters are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. It is illegal to deal with a prohibited matter within Queensland and anyone becoming aware of one should report it to Biosecurity Queensland immediately.
A ‘restricted matter’ is a biosecurity matter that is present in Queensland and likely to have a detrimental impact if it’s left unchecked. Restricted matters have specific actions that are required to be undertaken to limit their impact by reducing, controlling or containing them. There are seven categories for restricted matters.
What does this mean for me?
To ensure any species that pose the greatest risk across Queensland are appropriately managed your council is also required to have a biosecurity plan. This responsibility is delegated to councils and their communities in recognition that they are best placed to design practical, appropriate solutions to deal with risks in their region. Each council will need to undertake an assessment of the risks posed by all biosecurity matters listed in the Act, focusing on those delegated to local councils to manage. The risk assessment forms the basis for the prioritisation of species in each biosecurity plan. Councils are also able to prioritise the control of species that are not considered prohibited or restricted matter under the Biosecurity Act 2014 through the enactment of local laws.
Each council will circulate a draft plan for community consultation.
During the consultation period residents have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions about species that could be significant to their region. By providing constructive and well documented feedback to your council about invasive species in your local area, this gives your region the best chance of managing pests appropriately. In Queensland, biosecurity is everybody’s business and by working together pest management can be far more effective.
For more information about your council’s biosecurity plan and which invasive species they actively manage contact your council.